How does use of new technology affect our backs?

The use of devices like mobile phones can have a serious impact on the back. The Instituto Clavel, a center specialized in spinal pathologies, explains here how the use of technology affects us and what we can do to reduce its negative consequences.

You have most likely heard many times about the negative effects of the continued use of your smartphone. Although we may not realize it, when checking our mobile devices we bend the head downwards, and we do it many times each day. As we will explain later, each time we look at the mobile phone we exert a force on the spine that can reach 27 kilos.

For this reason, the spine specialists at  Instituto Clavel emphasize how important it is to take care of your posture not only when using a mobile phone, but also any other technological device such as a computer or a tablet.

Find out below how this incorrect use can affect your back and how to avoid it.

Incorrect use of your mobile can cause serious problems in the cervical spine

A few years ago, the medical journal Surgical Technology International published a study that revealed the harmful effects of mobile phone use on the cervical vertebrae and the spine

The figures presented in this study are decisive. The head of an adult weighs an average of 4 or 5 kilos. If we tilt it about 60 degrees, we will be putting 27 kilos of pressure on our shoulders. In addition, by performing this movement several times throughout the day, and day after day, the impact is considerable.

Obviously, the pressure we exert on the neck on a daily basis by looking at our smartphone is not going to cause an immediate injury, but in the mid to long term, it can be the cause of major cervical problems

Nobody questions the benefits of technology or that its use makes life easier and more comfortable, so it is not a matter of demonizing it, but of using it responsibly to care for our health

The main problem in this case lies in the position that we usually adopt to look at our phones to check for updates. The pressure to which we subject the spine and the cervical area will depend, directly, on the degree of inclination of the head. The the next paragraphs, we’ll tell you how to avoid this.


Tips for using technology correctly to prevent back problems

At Instituto Clavel we want to highlight that, as with other types of activities, when using technology, good posture is the key to preventing back problems. So what is the most recommended posture? Keep the spine straight and raise the device  with your hands to place it at face level. This way, we avoid having to bend the neck putting pressure on the area, and reduce the risk of future back problems. 

The posture we usually we adopt to watch videos, write messages or play on our phones is one of the first causes of what is known as a “text neck”. A problem that is increasingly affecting more people. When it comes to checking your mobile phone, in addition to the back, the cervical area suffers a lot because of this poor postural hygiene. By bending the neck to see the screen of our devices we create intense pressure in that area. It is an important problem, which should not be taken lightly, since in the most severe cases it can trigger occipital neuralgia, caused by impingement of the occipital nerve or Arnold's nerve.

And the problems do not end here, since poor postural hygiene can trigger other ailments, such as headaches or migraines and pain in the arms and shoulders.

When to see the doctor

If you notice that after using your mobile phone, computer or tablet, your back hurts and does not improve despite correcting your posture, it’s advisable to consult a doctor specialized in spine pathologies so they can evaluated your problem and help you find a solution.

At Instituto Clavel we offer treatments ranging from conservative options such as changes in daily habits or physical therapy, to others such as infiltrations or surgery. It all depends on the severity of the problem of each patient. Would you like to know more? Contact us so that we can give you the best advice in a personalized way.

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