Text neck, a new phenomenon, occurs when there is an excessive strain on the head, neck and spine, which usually results from looking downward.
More than 60 percent of Americans own a smartphone, which puts a large population at risk of experiencing text neck.
According to an informal survey of students at the University of La Verne, 18 out of 20 students said they are looking down at their phone most, if not all, of the day.
“It’s not just texting,” said Janelle Meza, an employee at the Healing Arts Center. “It’s the Internet, social media, everything. It causes continuous stiffness and headaches, and I noticed the pain about two years ago since I was constantly looking down at my phone.”
Students claimed to use their phone for approximately half the day. The results are similar to Baylor University’s study, which found that students spend an average of 10 hours per day on their phone.
The informal survey also revealed that all 20 students were unaware of the wide-spreading injury known as text neck.
Students began to realize the impact that has already occurred on their own bodies after learning the causes and effects of text neck.
This strain on the neck and spine that students felt is due to looking down for long periods of time with one’s head, which weighs an average of 10 to 12 pounds, according to a study published in Surgical Technology International.
When looking down, a person’s head begins to weigh more, depending on the angle because of gravity, and texting can add up to 50 pounds of pressure on the neck and spine, according to the study.
Meza said a solution to text neck is maintaining good posture and bringing the devices to eye-level rather than looking down and causing strain.
“I generally don’t look down too much,” said junior psychology major Reem Aranki, who has experienced little to no strain in her neck or spine. “I will generally bring my phone up to my face rather than look down.”
There is now even a phone app developed by the Text Neck Institute that notifies the user when an angle they are using puts them at risk of strain.
The “Text Neck Indicator,” is available for Android phones and costs $2.99.
“I have back problems, so I would definitely change the way I look at my phone,” said sophomore speech communications major Blasina Hernandez.
“I look down at my phone a lot so why not just hold it up?”
Deonah Cendejas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.