Skip to content

Cellphones, Other Devices and Your Health

woman reading phone stressedCellphones and tablets have changed the way in which we access information and entertainment.

According to the results of a recent poll on the use of cellphones and devices in Canada which was published in the Financial Post, more than a quarter of Canadians – including 50 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 – say they use their cellphones at least two hours a day.

What do hours spent staring at screens and devices do to the alignment of your upper neck and spine?

How much does a human head weigh?

Since our head is part of our body, we never think of it as a separate entity. But have you ever considered how much the average human head weighs?

Typically, an adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. As the head tilts forward, the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments work harder to support the head. Even the discs in the neck are involved, helping to absorb and distribute forces exerted on the neck.

Did you know that bending your neck and tilting your head to scroll on your cellphone can double or triple the weight of your head, straining your neck and causing pressure on your spine?

  • A 15-degree forward tilt may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds.
  • A 30-degree forward tilt means that the neck is supporting a 40-pound head.
  • So obviously, the greater the angle, the greater the strain: 45 degrees forward equals 49 pounds of strain, and 60 degrees forward equals 60 pounds.

One thing leads to another

As you bend your head, you also move your shoulders forward into a rounded position, which is yet another way of developing poor posture and the problems that go along with it.

Scrolling on your phone for long periods is not the only culprit. Anytime you put your body in a less-than-optimal position while working at a desk, reading a book or binging that Netflix series on the couch, you are doing your body a disservice.

Some helpful tips

  • Try not to use a tablet or phone while laying on the bed or the couch. Instead, sit up straight.
  • When you are reading the screen, instead of bending your head to look down at it bring the phone up level with, or just a little below, your face.
  • If you are at home or in a setting where you feel comfortable being on the floor, lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold your phone over your face to text and to surf the Internet. This position will put your head on the same plane as your shoulder, allowing the muscles of your neck and upper back to relax.
  • Invest in a holder for the device that allows you to set it on a flat surface so that you can use it without hunching over.
  • Don’t use your cellphone or your tablet for extended computer work. Instead, use your desktop or laptop computer, and make sure these devices are arranged ergonomically.
  • Take frequent exercise breaks away from devices. People don’t realize the strain they’re putting on their body when it is not aligned correctly, or just how far corrective exercises and chiropractic adjustments can go toward improving pain and postural issues. In addition to regular adjustments, the Chiropractors at Hazeldean Family Chiropractic Clinic can recommend a variety of safe and effective stretches and exercises.
  • Be a good example to your children and model behaviours you want to see in them. Breaking up the amount of time your child spends on their device will help prevent extended periods of slouching or hunching. Parental control apps can be ideal to set time limits.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.