With the season of giving just around the corner, and it seems that every human being from age 5 to 95 are looking for the latest and greatest technological devices to add to their Christmas list. Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to take an opportunity to bring attention to what these new devices are doing to our necks.

Constant use of devices is causing “text neck” pain. Have you ever noticed how much your neck aches from the constant looking down into these screens? The typical American spends 8-10 hours looking at a computer during the day. On top of that when we aren’t looking at a computer screen, we are looking down at a phone, ipad, a book or a kindle. It’s no wonder why our necks hurt and we get muscle fatigue, pain and headaches.

Our spines simply aren’t designed to support our heads that way for so many hours. Your head weighs between 12-15 lbs. When supported in good posture it balances well on your spine and skeleton. When looking down, the weight is supported by the muscles in your neck and upper back and your spine is not doing the bulk of the supporting work as it should. The result is neck pain from texting, reading and facebooking.

My advise is live your life in the moment and atmosphere you are in. This is something I need to practice as well. Is your facebook, email, and social media really an urgent emergency? People who email you don’t need instant communication back. Facebook and social media isn’t real life, it isn’t that important. Recent research shows that people who don’t use it report higher levels of happiness and less anxiety. Who among us couldn’t stand a little more happiness and freedom from anxiety. I’m not saying disconnect from the world. I am just saying make a certain time and place each day that you are sitting down on your computer or tablet (in good posture with a chair or posture support behind your back) and get your technological fix all at once instead of obsessively checking your phone throughout the day, dinner, walking down the street, etc.

Constantly clicking between apps on our phones or ipads, we are destroying our attention spans and our ability to concentrate. Research also shows that in the last decade the average American attention span has decreased an enormous amount. I personally didn’t have a lot to begin with so this isn’t good news.

My recommendations are easier to say than do. Set aside quiet hours and turn your phone off and put it away, at least put it on silent. Make yourself have to get up to check it and put it on silent so the beeping doesn’t entice you into engaging. Set yourself a limit on how may times you can go on facebook a day and don’t keep it playing in the background on your computer. Respond to emails in chunks if you have to be on top of things, don’t check it or respond constantly.

So…bottom line. Put the devices away or use them in good posture. Your back and your brain will thank you!

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