Texting could add 60 lbs to spine

Humberto Fabian
Staff Writer

Junior computer science major Sean Gribben said he spends about 16 hours a day playing video games.

Gribben, vice president of the Gamers Guild Club, said the only time he is not in front of his computer screen playing games is when he attends class or plays with his dog.

“There are times when I tell myself, ‘man I should be doing something more productive right now,’” Gribben said.

Gribben said that even though he spends a lot of time on his computer he is still able to manage his personal life.

“Something that mom has instilled for me was a good work ethic,” said Gribben. “So I always try to make sure that I get my stuff done whether or not I do it before or after I play video games.”

During the past decade, technology has changed the way people live their lives and has influenced communication and interactions between technology consumers.

It is no secret that unplugging from the real world and escaping into cyberspace can sometimes be beneficial, but students some students spend hours with their eyes glued to their screens, which studies show can damage spines.

Research done by New York spine surgeon Kenneth K. Hansraj found that excessive scrolling on social media apps and endless text messaging may be causing strains on necks and shoulders.

Hansraj calls it “text neck” which is the posture that is formed by leaning forward when reading and texting.

In his research, Hansraj explains that an adult human head ranges between 10 to 12 pounds and leaning the head just 15 degrees forward is already causing excess force on the cervical spine by adding 27 pounds of strain.

As people continue to lean their heads forward to about 60 degrees, which is the common texting posture observed on people, the stress on the spine could reach up to 60 pounds, said Hansraj.

Senior psychology major Kristopher Sandoval said he’s always on his phone and has noticed an increase in pain on his neck over time.

“I’m literally so addicted to my phone,” Sandoval said. “I’m on it during class, when I’m walking to class and even when I’m driving. It’s crazy. I tend to feel a lot of pressure on my neck I even feel like I walk hunched-backed sometimes.”

A study done by the American Optometric Association found that staring too much at a computer screen may also lead to computer vision syndrome, which is a condition that results from prolonged display device usage.

That is not the case for senior history major and President of the Gamers Guild Club Jack Bowman, who said that he practices healthy computer habits daily.

“I have always been very aware of that,” said Bowman.

“I was always told, ‘sit up on your chair, make sure your back is against it.’ I have a nice office chair, where mine curves a little bit so I’m not slouching forward as much.”

Bowman also said he incorporates some type of physical activity with the members of his club.

“We had a rule that every game we won you would do 20 pushups, and for every game that you lost you did 50. So it was a way to get us moving and making sure that we are not just sitting.”

Bowman said practicing healthy habits is essential and said the members in his club are pretty good at doing so.

“If you sit down in your chair for too long you become kind of lethargic, and so part of avoiding that is always making sure you get up and you move a bit, even if it was taking laps in my dorm room,” Bowman said.

Humberto Fabian can be reached at humberto.fabian@laverne.edu.

Humberto Fabian
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