That is correct! The constant use of your mobile devices; tablets, phablets, phones, and even laptops is hurting your back. But let’s be clear, it is not your mobile device’s fault. The entire fault rests on you and the inappropriate manner which you are using your devices.
The average person spends about 4 hours daily on their mobile devices surfing the internet, playing games, watching videos and other things. That’s four hours spent in the same hunched position looking at your device’s screen. The damage being done to the spine from being in this same hunched position is usually not immediately apparent, but like debt, it tends grow over time if not properly attended to.
This trend of phone related physiological injuries is more apparent among modern day teenagers, and the ill-advised hunched over position we are all guilty of can lead to all sorts of health issues, such as bone spurs, muscle deformity, and arthritic changes to the spine.
According to research, the effects of long periods of texting is the most damaging of all other smartphone activities because the angle at which the head is bent during messaging is more severe than while surfing the web on a mobile device or watching a video. Sitting and texting was proven by the researchers to be the most damaging position.
Although our heads are also inclined downwards while performing other activities, such as doing the dishes, or ironing, or reading a physical book, using a mobile device in the same position causes more damage because our body and head remains stationary for much longer stretches of times.
But it’s not just our spines that are in danger when we “assume the position”. According to Dr Buyanov, there are other parts of the body that also feel the strain while our eyes are pinned to our little screens. These other parts are;
- Your Thumb: During the BlackBerry age, thumbs all around the world suffered gross abuse without mercy from their owners. Now in the age of touchscreen devices, the thumbs face a better fate but are still being excessively strained due to overuse sliding across screens.
- Your Elbow: Modern day devices might be lighter than older one, but the fact that your elbow has to stay bent in position for long periods of time means it’s been incessantly strained. Keeping your elbow locked in a flexed position can strain nerves in your elbow joint.
- Your Wrist: Same as with elbows, keeping your wrists in a locked position for long periods without resting or flexing them is straining joints and tendons in your wrist.
At the end of it all, it’s your back and your neck that pays the steepest price. As your head is tilted downwards and your eyes trained on your phone, your neck and shoulders are also bent forward thus tightening muscles at your body’s front but letting your back muscles get weaker. This over time brings about a muscle imbalance that leads to tension and back pain.
Looking down at your phone places a constant pressure of about 60 pounds on your spine, and keeping up this habit might eventually lead to you needing medical attention. Thankfully, you can easily rectify this by not throwing away your phone or swearing off all devices. All you need do is assume a more healthy posture while using your devices and stay conscious of when you lapse into old unhealthy sitting patterns. Don’t tilt your head down. Rather, keep your head up and raise your phone to meet your line of vision. Also, when moving around be sure to stand up straight and resist slouching. Your spine and your health will thank you in due time.