Are you getting ‘Texter’s Neck’?

By

Hyma Pillay

20-12-2014

2 min read

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LDR-PDF-download-110x110Also known as ‘iPosture’

By TERRY SMALL

“TEXTER’S Neck” is the position your neck is in when you are looking down at your mobile phone. Flexing your head forward for long periods of time can cause cervical spinal degeneration which will affect your posture.
Remember, your posture doesn’t just affect your body. It affects your brain too.

The way you sit, stand, and walk has big implications for your mood and happiness. The latest studies show:

– The way you move affects the way others see you.
– When you sit up straight, you are more likely to think of positive things, or recall good memories. (San Francisco State University)
– A slow, slumped walk can drain your energy.
– Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says posture even affects your hormone levels. (TED Talk)
– Your posture can affect your decision-making. (Harvard University)

There are four billion mobile phones in the world. Texting has become a preferred form of communication.

Think of all the time the average person spends hunched over a smart phone, or device. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year.
Are you one of them? If so, you may have “texter’s neck”.

Heck of a neck

“Texter’s Neck” can cause neck strain, neck pain, and headaches. It can also cause arthritis. These can become chronic, and don’t usually get better on their own.

If left untreated, permanent damage can happen including:

Flattening of the spinal curve
Onset of early arthritis
Spinal degeneration
Spinal misalignment
Disc herniation
Disc compression
Muscle damage
Nerve damage
Loss of lung volume capacity

Gastrointestinal problems

(Source: The Text Neck Institute)
A study found 84% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they had back pain in the last 10 months (Simplyhealth). The same study found that people of all ages spend the same amount of time interacting with devices each day as they spend sleeping.

Consider this quote by Dr Mladen Golubic, medical director for the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute (taken from the Wall Street Journal):

“If you do this day after day, … the whole skeleton changes … we do know that when you slouch, you project an attitude of depression and low motivation. When you sit up straight, psychologically, your attitude is better.”

And consider this:

“In the upright posture, venous outflow is considerably less pulsatile (57%) and occurs predominantly through the vertebral plexus, while in the supine posture venous outflow occurs predominantly through the internal jugular veins.

“A slightly lower tCBF (12%), a considerably smaller CSF volume oscillating between the cranium and the spinal canal (48%), and a much larger ICC (2.8-fold) with a corresponding decrease in the MRI-derived ICP values were measured in the sitting position.” (Alperin et al)

In other words, keep the blood flowing to your brain.

When you bend your neck and look down at your phone for a long time, you are straining the muscles and joints in your neck. This is unnatural, and it can cause poor posture. It can be permanent.

Emma Thompson once said, “We all stand about like parboiled spaghetti.” She might be right. Regardless, excellent posture is a valuable thing to portray to the world.

So, try to cut back on the time you spend on your devices. And when you are using them, keep your head up. Your brain, and body, will thank you. Mindfulness is key.

Terry Small is a brain expert who resides in Canada and believes that anyone can learn how to learn easier, better, faster, and that learning to learn is the most important skill a person can acquire. For more Brain Bulletin articles, do check out www.leaderonomics.com

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