Text: Melinda Marchese

The syndrome of SMS addicts

Smartphones alter your back.


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Nearly two hours and 30 minutes per day. That’s the average amount of time that people spend on their smartphones, according to the American market research company Millward Brown.

A study recently published in the scientific journal “Surgical Technology International” reports that when people tilt their head forward – the typical position for looking at their smartphone – the stress on the cervical spine increases.

The author of the study, the American spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj, describes how the further forward the head is tilted, the greater the weight exerted on the neck.

During that time, as users enjoy writing text messages or browsing through their favourite blog, the neck suffers in silence.

He writes that the adult head weighs 4.5 to 5.5 kg. In a neutral position, this weight is naturally distributed and supported by the spine. But by tilting the head forward 15 degrees, “the forces on the neck surge” to more than 12 kg. At 30 degrees, the head weighs 18 kg, at 45 degrees 22 kg and at 60 degrees nearly 30 kg.

Due to that excess weight, many smartphone addicts complain of neck pain. This rapidly growing phenomenon has been coined “text neck syndrome”. Doctors clearly advise people to avoid tilting their head for several minutes in a row and to make sure their ears are aligned with their shoulders when using their smartphone. ⁄