While I was suffering through this neck pain recently I kept wondering why my head feels so heavy. Which led me to contemplate the weight of a human head, and how it’s possible for it to feel heavier when there’s pain. So, naturally, I googled and learned a few things.
The first statistic that came up was that a human head weighs around 5 kg or 11 lbs. 😳
To put this in perspective, my son weighed 8 lbs 6 oz when he was born and his sister 2 lbs less.
So, technically, a newborn baby is less heavy than your head. 😯
Next, I wondered how someone would learn the weight of a head. Short of decapitating someone and weighing their head (anyone else thinking of that Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow movie?), there must be some other science-y way to learn how much your own noggin weighs.
Google came to the rescue once again.
Immersing my head in buckets of water…are you crazy? I’ll probably drown when the puppy jumps on my back and stands on my head… 😀
I’m not doing that.
Since the pain in my neck is still causing me some discomfort (but lesser so than yesterday thank goodness) I continued my research. I learned that all this weight is balanced on just 7 vertebrae in your neck, and supported by 20 muscles that are responsible for moving your head around and keeping that weight in place.
I also learned that the more you move your head forward (say while looking at your phone), the more your head’s weight increases.
This is called Text Neck, a phenomenon that has become more prevalent in our society these days.
Here’s another picture that shows us what happens when we use our phones while standing:
Imagine the kids who are still growing? I see my own kids, especially now in the lock-down pandemic, constantly plugged into their phones and devices, partly for school but also for socializing…and no sports, no activities, not even gym glass or running around at recess is allowed. They’re in prime position of developing text neck (if they haven’t already).
This isn’t the first time I’m thinking the approach to this virus needs to be adjusted somewhat. There has got to be a healthier option to deal with a contagious respiratory illness than to isolate everyone and stop all normal activity for months at a time…and to allow growing kids to get back into moving their bodies, taking breaks from staring at screens day in and day out…
All we can do is be aware, and share this information. My own kids will probably not listen to me, and taking their screens away is not an option, but I’m hoping that the politicians and medical scientists will keep a broader perspective going forward when making decisions in the future (but they probably won’t)…
In terms of my own neck problems, my condition (Reversed Cervical Lordosis) should have alerted me to better posture sooner. I may not have suffered to such a degree had I remembered the Xray results from two years ago and adjusted my posture while reading my phone or typing into my laptop.
So, let’s pass this on to people who need to know that posture is important, especially when looking at a screen in your hand.