Whether you are in a bus or are sitting at a doctor’s clinic, I bet you will spot at least half of the people around busy staring at their phone. Most of us spend hours at a stretch glued to one or the other hand held device such as mobiles, tablets, laptops and video games (kids).
But did you know this habit, which millions of people in the world have, can cause serious damage to the spine and neck?
What is text neck?
Text neck, also known as Turtle Neck syndrome, is a 21st century syndrome caused by continuous strain on the neck due to repeated stress from looking down at mobile screens or tablets for long.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, when you bend your neck at 15 degree angle, it puts a pressure of 12 kgs on your spine.
At a 60 degree angle, which is what you tend to bend when texting, reading or chatting on phone, the pressure increases to 27 kgs.
Imagine the strain on the neck and spine as you chat for longer than 5 seconds with a 10-year-old hanging around your neck.
Concerned About Orthopaedic Discomfort..?? Here’s The Right Solution.
Kids and teens also at RISK
It is estimated that around 75% of world population (18 – 34 years) spend hours with head-held devices and their heads flexed forward. Text neck has become common not just in adults but also in teens and adolescents who hunch over smart phones with over 2000 hours a year of excess strain on the spine and neck.
Symptoms of text neck
-Radiating pain across the spine and shoulders.
If you work for hours on a laptop or type and swipe on your phone most of the time or have a forward head posture, you could be at risk of this condition. Hence, if you experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor.
Why you should not ignore these signs?
If left ignored, text neck can lead to shoulder pain, upper back pain, headache and severe thoracic kyphosis (hunchback or S-shaped spine). It is also reported that the forward head posture can affect the lung function leading to a loss of up to 30% of vital lung capacity.
How to prevent text neck?
Here are few tips to follow when using a smartphone or any handheld device to lower the strain on the neck and back.
-Avoid prolonged typing or swiping on phones.
-Take frequent breaks from your phone.
-Avoid sitting in a static posture.
-Hold your mobile at eye level.
1. Fares J, Fares MY, Fares Y. Musculoskeletal neck pain in children and adolescents: Risk factors and complications. Surg Neurol Int. 2017 May 10;8:72.
2. Yeom H, Lim J, Yoo SH, Lee W. A new posture-correcting system using a vector angle model for preventing forward head posture. Biotechnol Biotechnol Equip. 2014;28(sup1):S6-S13.