According to a recent study, the average person looks at a smartphone 221 times a day for a total of about three hours and 15 minutes- about once every four minutes for 16 hours straight. A chiropractor should find this to be worrying because in one year the average person will spend almost 1,200 hours- 50 days- starring down at a screen. Professionally speaking, you’d have to agree that without a doubt the magnitude of this number of repetitions could become responsible for decades of chronic back pain. A preliminary study in 2016 edition of Applied Ergonomics shows a relationship between mobile device use and musculoskeletal neck pain.
Another study, from the 2018 edition of the same journal, tells us that when people use mobile devices, their posture is often poor (not a surprise). Sarah Hopkins, DC, believes the long-term side effects of text messaging and smartphone use can cause a person’s posture to change over time. “The body has an incredible ability to adapt,” Hopkins says. “Unfortunately, when people are hunched over their cell phone all day, the body adapts to that posture, too.” Optometrists are also weighing in on the “text neck” debate. The growing concern with smartphone and computer use stems from the effects of increased exposure to harmful blue-violet light. Many digital devices use LEDs that can emit about 35 percent blue-violets light. This can increase the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Regular “eye breaks,” which are recommended, complement good neck posture because eye strain is usually compensated by changing neck position. A one-minute break after every ten minutes of screen time is a good recommendation.
Smart phone use means you will be “looking down” for years to come. Chiropractic spinal adjustments will help to correct postural imbalances from frequent “text neck.” Technology is here to stay and we need to incorporate it safely into our lifestyle. Chiropractic also works hand-in-hand with corrective exercises to aid the chiropractic adjustment.