Now that science has confirmed our work computers are transforming us into sad, muscle-less, amorphous blobs, it's time to blame cell phones for turning us into walking dolphins, according to a new study that claims texting puts more than 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Next time your mother nags you to stand up straight, throw your iPhone at her.
The study [pdf], recently released in the journal Surgical Technology International, was conducted by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, a New York-based back surgeon. He used a computer program to craft a model of the cervical spine, checking to see how much weight certain head movements placed on it.
What he found, sadly, is that all those hours spent trying to best your 2048 score are actually doing a number on your back. According to the paper, though the average human head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds, "[a]s the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees." The average American usually spends about two to four hours a day on their phone, according to studies—the average millennial is practically married to his or her smartphone, presumably because our youths' spines are already too curved to let them look other humans in the eye. It's a vicious cycle.
This, naturally, is not so great for our backs, and Hansraj suggests humans try keeping upright while checking text messages and making drunk tweets, lest we all put such a strain on our spines that we're forced to shell out big bucks for surgery. Or, you could, you know, stop looking at your phone so much. That would certainly make crossing the street a little safer.