Texting could be bad for human spines, according to a new study.

Texting, game play, and other activities often occur as people are hunched over their phones, a habit some people partake in between two and four hours each day. That amount of constant bending is detrimental to human spines, delivering up to five times normal stress levels to the vital nerve network.

"An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees," Ken Hansraj, chief of spine surgery for New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, said.

A large portion of the population of wealthy nations can spend up to 1,700 hours a year hunched over phones, tablets and other display screens. High school students can remain in that position for up to 5,000 hours before graduation.

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

Many of the conveniences of modern life, including office chairs and toilets are increasingly being shown to lead to health problems. This latest report adds cell phones to the list of potential hazards of the 21st Century.

Medical patients could benefit from the new report, as they recover from spinal surgeries or other procedures. Awareness may be raised among doctors that the use of electronic devices by their patients should be considered when diagnosing causes of injuries. Recovery could also be aided, as patients can be warned to avoid poor posture during recovery while using electronic devices. Kyphosis, a curvature of the spine during recovery, could otherwise result.

This is the first major study of how poor posture while using electronics can impact spinal health.

Good posture is defined by Hansraj and his team as positioned with ears placed directly above shoulders, with shoulder blades retracted. In this position, stresses on the spine are minimized, reducing the potential for damage. These stresses can increase wear and tear on the body, potentially leading to the need for surgery.

Hansraj recommends that users of electronic devices hold their phones and tablets at eye level, preventing the need to tilt one's head or slouch.

Study of the role of phone use and poor posture on spinal health was detailed in the journal Surgical Technology International

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