Text much? I do. After reading a new study about chronic neck injuries due to excessive texting from the Surgical Technology International (STI) magazine, the New York hip hoppers, Wu-Tang Clan have been singing, “ So what’s up man? Cooling man…Protect Ya Neck..!” in my head. I realize the song isn’t about chilling and texting. But a recent study revealed that Americans spend about 2-4 hours a day with their necks hunched forward because of their phone, tablet and ipad fixation. The article was written by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, who says the chronic downward gaze of Americans, is causing an increase in neck (cervical) injuries. As you bend your head further forward, the weight of your head increases from a 10-pound to 60-pound weight. “The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees,” says author of the STI article.
Hansraj’s findings are hardly a surprise. With the number of jobs that keep you bound to a computer, posture in America has been degenerating for the last decade. In fact, a January 2014 article in the Washington Post featured the damage the body incurs after sitting for 8 hours per day. Aside from neck and back strain, it indicates how it leads to organ damage, heart disease, an over-productive pancreas and simply mushy abs! If you combine this occupational hazard with another 2-4 hours a day of texting, Americans will seek out Gerontologists by the age of 35 for their yearly check-up.
The remedy for this problem is simple. Stand up straight, sit up straight, do neck mobility exercises throughout the day and change your smart phone posture. Try to avoid tilting your head down for extended periods of time. In fact, look up and extend your head in the opposite direction. This fixed position places strain on the neck that is equal to a 60-pound hat on your head!
So to regain the swagger, elegance and posture of the classic American icons, like John Wayne, Sophia Loren and Kerry Grant- try these very simple movements throughout your day and even after a few minutes of smartphone usage. Consider these few minutes as an intervention and an effort towards preserving your proud American posture.
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