Is your smart phone weighing you down?  It could be, quite literally.  New research shows that the weight of your head increases as it bends down, which has a huge impact on your spine, posture, and health. In fact, you might be giving yourself Tech Neck.

What’s Tech Neck?
Your head weighs about 10-12 lbs.  When you look down and remain hunched over your phone, the downward and forward angle adds up to of 60 lbs. on your cervical spine (your neck)!  With most us spending 2-4 hours a day in this position, it’s no wonder our necks and backs are hurting.  Soreness, tissue inflammation, muscle strain, pinched nerves, and poor posture are the result.

How to Prevent Tech Neck
First, reduce the risk of tech neck by instituting some lifestyle changes.  Start by not checking your phone first thing in the morning.  Give yourself a 30-minute tech reprieve at the break of day.   Institute a “no phone at table rule” so breakfast, lunch and dinner time texting, checking email, and liking instagram posts are now out. Don’t answer every text or email immediately but rather set an allotted time to reply either via your phone or at your computer, where neck strain is not as profound.  Take a tech holiday, which seems even more important for youth. Schedule a two-day period, that with preparation and planning, you can go tech free.

How to Counteract Tech Neck
Naturally, you will need to use your phone at some point.  Experts recommend angling the head to a lesser degree and letting the eyes looks down rather than having your neck do all the work.

Stretch your head and neck often. Try this immediate good posture promoter: stand with your arms in a T-shape in a doorway with arms extended.  Keep your arms in the T-shape, and gently lean forward so your arms are slightly behind you to open up the chest and shoulder muscles. Also, practicing yoga is an excellent and more in-depth way to counteract tech neck, so check out a class and get started.

So look up, stand up, unplug, and stretch your hardworking back and neck. They will thank you for it!