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Calling all phone fanatics: You could be suffering from “text neck”

Are you reading this on your phone or tablet? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American adults own a cellphone, 62 percent own a smartphone, 42 percent own a tablet and 32 percent own an e-reader.

But all this technology is leading to what’s being described as a “text-neck” epidemic, stress on the spine due to the slouching, head-down posture most of us employ during mobile phone and tablet use.

“This poor posture can lead to neck and back pain, muscle imbalance, joint dysfunction and a negative emotional state, while good posture helps your body function properly, enhances endurance and adds to an overall feeling of comfort and health,” said Dr. John DeVine, chief of the spine surgery service at Augusta University Orthopaedics.

Check Your Posture

Good standing posture is a vertical alignment from the top of your head, through the midsection and down to your feet. A good frame of reference is to imagine a straight line though your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Hold your head straight and avoid tilting it to one side.

If you’re sitting at a desk all day, make sure your chair provides ample support and is ergonomically correct. Certain exercises can help strengthen your core muscles, which can help improve your posture. A physical therapist can suggest options that are right for you.

Most importantly, be aware of your posture during technology use. Avoid slouching, and if you’re constantly checking your phone, take a break.

Do You Have Good Posture?

The best way to find out if your posture is having a negative affect on your general health and could lead to chronic back pain later in life is to consult with a medical professional. To make an appointment with a Augusta University Health primary care provider, call 706-721-2273 (CARE).

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.