If you’re among the 31 million Americans with an aching back, here’s and important message from your spine. Stophunching!!! Get that bowling ball out of your purse, backpack or other tote; put out that cigarete; and change positions frequently.

New research confirms that modern life habits are a major trigger for the most common kind of back pain- not the type caused by arthritis or a major disease, but the kine that’s linked to stuff you do every day that pushes, pulls, bends and torques your spine.


A brand new report from the New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine center has identified “text neck” – bending your head down to check your messages – as  a major source of chronic back pain.  That’s because your head weighs about 10-12 pounds, a weight your spine and the muscles that support it can manage easily when you stand up straight.  Tilt about 15 degrees, in amount you might bend your neck to see if you have a text, and the load on your upper spine more that doubles, to 27 pounds.  As you tilt further downward, the weight increases.  It hits 40 pounds a a 30 degree tilt- about how far you’d bend your neck to read the tine print on your screen- and a whopping 60 pounds at 60 degrees (bending your neck down far enough to feel the pull in your shoulders).  That’s gotta hurt, and it does. 

That bend distorts the natural curve of your back, leading to inflammation and “wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.”  That’s important news for America’s 58-million-plus smartphone users, who spend up to four hours a day hunched over their tiny screens.  That adds up to over 1,000 hours of extra spinal strell per year!

Protect your back: Hold your phone up higher  when reading and sending messages. And avoid other hazards that throw your spine off-kilter, like heavy purses and backpacks, sitting on a thick wallet in your back pocket.  All of these knock your spine to one side.  Lighten the purse or backpack, and keep your wallet to a quarter-inch thick or less.  Keep bills in your front pocket and carry fewer credit cards.


If you’re on your feet all day, you probably already know that prolonged standing can do a number on your spine, but so can prolonged sitting at a desk.  Doing either one the wrong way puts extra pressure on your spine’s stack of discs and surrounding muscles.

Protect your back; Supportive footwear can help if you stand for much of the day.  Taking brief breaks to sit or move around works, too.  If your job keeps you at your desk, get up every 20 to 30 minutes, walk around and stretch for 90 seconds.  Make sure your desk chair supports your lower back and that you sit with the knees slightly lower that the hips with your feet flat on the floor.  Use a headset instead of tucking your phone between you ear and shoulder, too.  

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