ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Nearly every American has a wireless device, and we spend hours a day bent over, communicating through text and email.
That continuous movement can cause your neck to lose its curve, which can be detrimental to your health. But there are ways to prevent: Text Neck.
Many Americans spend hours a day texting. Morgan Marshall says he does it, "Maybe like 5 to 6 hours a day."
It's less for Shavia Wrease; "Probably 3 to 4 hours a day," she said.
Dr. Raymond Bailey says, "The average person texts 2 to 4 hours a day, that's 700 to 1,400 hours a year."
Experts believe spending that many hours hunched over with your neck bent can damage your spine and cause serious health problems.
Doctors call it, text neck; a condition that's becoming more common. "We're seeing a huge increase in it as people are beginning to use their smartphones more and more to depend on them for communication and we get addicted to them throughout the day."
A recent study shows the more you tilt your head forward, the more weight is put on the cervical spine. Sixty degrees is equal to 60 pounds of pressure.
"If you do this for any period of time at all you're going to exert what we consider 60 pounds of pressure on the neck itself. That would be the equivalent of a 7 year-old child sitting on your neck," Bailey said. "This film shows a text neck, where the person has lost the curve."
This is an X-ray of a patient chiropractor Dr. Davis Kinney treated for text neck. "We were able to restore them back to a normal curve."
Chiropractors are seeing more young patients with this problem.
"Now I'm picking up on a younger and younger set of generation that's coming in with very similar complaints as to the computer analysts. And I am definitely awarding that problem to text messaging," Bailey said.
"These teenagers and young people that are developing text neck now," said Dr. Davis Kinney. "In 15 to 20 years are the people that are going to have early on set arthritis in the neck."
Text neck can cause other problems. "Headache is what typically gets them into the office for treatment. But also just chronic tension and pain in the neck and the top of the shoulders," said Kinney. "Prolonged effects have been linked to both cardiovascular disease, headaches, constipation, depression."
But there are steps you can take to prevent having to see a professional. "Get your phone up to a situation where you're possibly even looking more straightforward at the phone. Take the pressure off the neck," said Bailey.
"There are some exercises and things you can do to help restore the curve in your neck. Some of those you can find online," Kinney said.
But the best way to prevent text neck may be the toughest for some people; simply putting down your phone.For more information about exercises to help text neck, click on one of the links below.