Text messaging has emerged as one of America’s primary forms of communication, especially among younger generations. This is unfortunate for the spine, a structure which was not designed to engage with a pocket computer for prolonged periods of time. At Holmes Chiropractic, we are watching the text message take its toll on the 21st century’s most avid communicators. Overuse of a cell phone poses a postural problem: the severe angle that the head takes in order to send and receive messages is putting excess stress on the neck and shoulder muscles.
A neutral posture would see the head and its average 10-12 pound weight supported in a full, balanced position by the neck; the posture of a “typical texter” is head forward and angled downward, creating significantly more pressure on the neck and shoulders than neutral posture. The muscles and tendons must compensate to support this burden, becoming strained in the process. As with all postural related problems, the spine is not meant to withstand added strain for long periods of time.
For youth, who text the most, and whose spines are still developing, this problem can take on a greater significance: Structural growth problems including premature osteoarthritis, bone spurs and muscular deformity are being linked to overuse of cell phones.
To cell phone users in the Houston area, we urge you to be aware of your habits and how they can influence premature spinal degradation. Text messaging’s impact on the spine is a modern parable for the importance of posture. Instituting healthy postural habits begins with awareness and we offer the expertise and counseling that can help you: call our office in Houston at 713-862-2440.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.