Walking around with the weight equivalent of a third grader hanging from your neck can’t be good for your health, but that’s the type of strain we put on our bodies when looking at mobile devices. According to a new study, such behavior could lead to surgery.
The study, conducted by Dr. Ken Hansraj and published in Surgical Technology International, looked at posture and head positioning common during cell phone use and concluded those angles cause pressures that can lead to the “loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine” and “may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.”
The human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, but the study notes that when a person bends their head downward, an increasing amount of pressure is put on the neck: “As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees.”
How do you prevent the need for surgery? Dr. Hansraj wrote that you should avoid spending hours a day hunched over your mobile device and try to look at it in the “neutral spine” position–neck straight and head facing forward.