Texting may be ruining your back

Do you tilt your head down while texting on your cellphone? Chances are you may be damaging your back in the process, according to new study.

Research published this week in Surgical Technology International by New York spinal surgeon Kenneth Hansraj says that the simple act of looking down at a cellphone exerts enormous pressure on the neck. Using a computer-designed model of a human spine, Hansraj tested the amount of pressure generated on the back in associated with how far forward the head was tilted. The amount intensified the greater the angle: a 15-degree tilt put 27 pounds of pressure on the spine, while a 60-degree tilt left the back handling 60 pounds.

With people spending an average of two to four hours a day looking down at their cellphones, the study says, the user can accumulate between 700 and 1400 hours of extra spinal pressure per year.

However, Hansraj said it doesn’t mean people should stop texting.

“While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues,” Hansraj wrote in the study, “individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.