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Is Your Smartphone Aging Your Face Prematurely? 5 Maladies of the Digital Era

August 24, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

“Text neck” is for real.

Face it, we’re all addicted to our electronic devices. You might know a few lonely holdouts, determined to stay detached and live off the grid, but their numbers are diminishing. Most of us are living in an ever more wired world, dependent on instantaneous communication and information, and at a panicky loss when we can’t find our smartphones.

No one wants to hear it, but we’re paying a steep price for this behavior. Our tech habits are laying ruin to our physical and mental health and abilities. Being aware of the possible pitfalls is your first line of defense against premature aging, aches and diminished brain capacity. That and unplugging more often. Here are five digital maladies you should be aware of.

1. Text Neck

You see them everywhere. Teenagers, middle-aged commuters, grocery shoppers of all ages, hunched over small objects they gaze at like little miracles, their necks jutting forward and down at an oddly excruciating angle. And they just stay there, seemingly frozen, unaware.

These are the legions of people giving themselves “text neck,” a thoroughly modern condition that can lay ruin to one's neck and spine. People are hunched over smartphones, engrossed in text conversations, checking Facebook, returning emails, Instagramming photos, unaware that they are putting immense strain on their necks and spines that will plague them for a lifetime.

The head is heavy under the best of circumstances, a weighty 12-pound object to support. Your neck and spine work tirelessly to hold it up it and are well set up to do so. Or they were, until smartphones came along and gave everyone incentive to cock their heads forward at an unnatural angle, for hours on end.

As the Washington Post explains it:

… as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.

That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours …read more


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