From Dr. Paul Christo, a board member of the American Academy of Pain Management:
“We live in an increasingly connected world. Smartphones allow us to stay constantly in touch with friends and family, up-to-date on the latest news, constantly checking in on social media, and for some of us, connected to work 24/7. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans now own a smartphone, which is up from 35% from 2011.
“This constant connectivity has a cost. “Text neck,” a repetitive strain injury is becoming more common. Hunching over the smart phone screen can lead to muscle pain in the neck and shoulders, and sometimes the lower back.
“Research has shown that the weight placed on the neck from tilting it forward at a 60 degree angle is equivalent to carrying an 8 year old around your neck for hours each day.
“Over time, this can lead to tears in the discs, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis (narrowing around the spinal cord or spinal nerves). These spinal changes, which are typically associated with aging, may becoming more common in younger people, including teens and even younger.
“Text neck occurs because of the posture we tend to use when we stare at our smartphones – looking down, dropping the head forward toward the chest, and rolling the shoulders forward – increases stress on the neck and can actually change the natural curvature of the spine over time.”