In case you're wondering just how wired our world has become, a study found that 79% of people between 18 and 44 have their smartphones with them all the time.
It turns out our need to be constantly connected isn't just sapping our attention spans, it's also taking a toll on our bodies.
Doctors are warning smartphone users about "text neck," a group of conditions caused by the posture we use to check our phones and stare at computer screens.
Spine surgeons say more patients are reporting neck and upper back pain, including patients who are unusually young for these conditons.
Authors in The Spine Journal say that our poor posture is causing more cases of neck issues, herniated disks, and alignment problems at earlier ages.
Doctors also worry about how the youngest generation, who are growing up with smartphones in their hands, will be affected.
Even if you're not feeling any symptoms, you may already be living with the effects of "text neck."
Thankfully, this condition is easy to avoid and correct - if you know how.
The main issue with staring down at your phone is it puts your head in an unnatural position.
Normally, your neck is leaning back. In this position, the "weight" on your body is the same as the weight of your head, about 9 or 10 pounds. But learning forward can put more than 25 pounds of strain on your neck.
If you neck's alignment gets worse, you'll feel the impact of that shift all over your body. It can cause neck pain, dizziness and other balance problems, nerve pain, and tingling in your arms and hands.
If you're feeling the pinch caused by "text neck," here's how to fight back:
- Stand up: this automatically improves your posture by keeping your head at a healthy angle. Remember: ears over shoulder, shoulders over hips.
- Hold your cellphone in front of your face, near eye level, and text using two thumbs to relieve stress on your back.
- Elevate your computer monitor so the screen is at eye level.
- Take a break every 25 minutes or so, or do physical exercise in your spare time to strengthen your neck and back.
- If you need to, leave an alarm or reminder for yourself to stretch or sit up straight at regular intervals.
Fight back against text neck!