There are a plethora of articles going around about “horns” growing on millennials due to their use of smartphones. This sounds scary but if you look into it, it isn’t exactly how it sounds. The “horns” are actually born spurs in the back of the neck that are said to be growing for children to evolve so that looking downwards at a phone, computer, tablet, etc. be more accessible to the body. This spur is supposedly supposed to allow the tendons in the neck to stretch longer so that looking downwards does not hurt as much.
Regardless of if this is true or not, it’s still a scary thought and there is no doubt that in this day and age that a lot of the population is addicted to their smartphones and are constantly looking down on them. This is causing much anxiety and depression in children, causing car accidents, creating less interpersonal skills in the younger generation, but it is also causing extreme damage to the spine and body. Being mindful of the way that you sit and look at screens will greatly impact your overall health and well-being.
If you aren’t willing to give up the screen time, which let’s face it, most of us won’t, let’s change the way that we look at them. Instead of tilting the neck forward to look down at the phone or computer, bring the screen upward to your eye level. Pulling your chin inward and keeping the neck straight will prevent the spine from tilting forward and remaining in this unnatural position. It will help you avoid degenerative spondylolisthesis, which is where a bone (vertebra) slips forward onto the bone below it. This causes unnecessary aches and pains and can eventually lead to hunchback.
As well as working on proper posture, there are exercises that we can do daily to help strengthen the neck. These will reinforce the proper positioning of the spine and strengthen each vertebrae so that you remain aligned and it sitting up straight doesn’t hurt. These exercises include simple neck stretches each day, specifically in the mornings when you rise and evenings before bed. When doing these neck stretches, avoid compressing the spine so allow the head to rock forwards when moving to each side, hold the head on each side for 7-20 seconds and allow yourself to stretch each side at least 3 times each. Other exercises that can be performed include but are not limited to posture pulley exercises with resistance bands or the Posture Pulley Device, Buerger Allen exercises, and core stability exercises.
Protect your health and wellness. Sitting tall and having good posture will increase overall quality of life and prevent yourself and future generations evolving to look at smartphone.