Head weight and text neck

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… πŸ˜€

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.

Source: https://www.gwosteopathy.co.uk/much-head-weigh/

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:

Source: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a26555846/text-neck-back-pain-kids/

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…

Anyway.

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.

34 Replies to “Head weight and text neck”

      1. Ergonomics and kinaesthetics are not always given much importance by most people but irrespective of what age, it is something that needs to be addressed, I like how you arranged your desk WoW,e❣️

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep — just a useless factoid that doesn’t change the situation.

        I sympathize with the pain, however. After a couple of car accidents caused by other bad drivers, I have a messed up neck that, thankfully, my chiropractor seems able to fix with monthly visits. Something to consider, if you haven’t gone that route — keeping in mind that chiros can vary in quality and kookiness.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a chiro, and physio…but yesterday I couldn’t stomach the idea of someone actually manipulating me physically. I just needed rest. I’ll probably go back to physio, if I can get an apt, next week maybe…I’ll see. And agreed about the chiro comment – I have a good one, but my partner had a bad one years ago and he’s still suffering from those treatments.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I prefer to recommend an Osteopath for neck work- ask your friends on Facebook who suggests a good one- def go with personal recommendations- a Physio will be a great compliment to that, and do those exercises they suggest daily! Spoken like a Pilates Instructor who’s recovering from whiplash herself πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Text neck? Good grief I think I have that. Ever since the husband has taken over my office to telework I’ve been using my phone for everything. For the past few weeks I’ve had neck pain and couldn’t figure out why. Damn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to reduce my phone work for this reason. So convenient but the resulting pain and damage to the spine is not worth it.

      Can you get a laptop set up someplace, like I did? I plugged an external keyboard in and elevated the laptop on a bunch of thick books to have the screen line up with my head. Go to the Monday post and you’ll see the picture I posted.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a laptop yes, but we’re on a broadband connection out here in the sticks and with the husband hogging all the bandwidth teleworking on a government computer … my phone is just so much faster.

        Liked by 1 person

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