How to protect our cervical spine while looking at our mobile devices


During the quarantine, the need of staying informed and connected with our friends and family has increased. Thus, it is understandable that our use of mobile devices, phone and/or tablet, has also increased exponentially. Both the number of times we check these devices and the duration of such times.

Let’s remember that each time we check our mobile, and throughout its duration, our cervical spine is making a flexion movement. Such movement can be even accentuated if we are laying down on a bed or a sofa.

In fact, each time we check our mobile, our spine column is forced to support a weight equivalent of up to 27kg. This is because an adult head weights on average 6 or 7 kgs while being on a flexion position of 60º or more. Thus, the stress on our cervical and dorsal discs increases proportionally with the amount of time we are forcing them to be at a flexion position.

Therefore, at Instituto Clavel, we recommend rationing the use of our mobile devices. We also advice, each morning, to do stretching and strengthening exercises for our cervical and dorsal muscles. Finally, each time we need to use our devices, do it in the most neutral position possible for our cervical spine, that is, avoiding a forced flexion.

© Dr. Pablo Clavel, Neurosurgeon, Instituto Clavel, 2020