I recently read that more people died taking selfies last year than those getting attacked by sharks. As shocking as that sounds, it’s true. When I think about injuries caused by mobile phones, I think of people walking into lampposts, people tripping and falling – but it turns out that phones are causing a more bizarre injury, called ‘text neck’.
James Carter, an Australian chiropractor, says teens and children in particular are developing abnormally curved spines because they’re craning their necks while using their mobile phones. Speaking about the issue, he said:
“Instead of a normal forward curve, patients can be seen to have a backwards curve. It can be degenerative, often causing head, neck, shoulder and back pain.
“Many patients come in complaining they have a headache, but we actually find ‘text neck’ is the cause of it. They often fail a simple heel-to-toe test and tend to fall over.”
In essence repeated head tilts from staring at your phone can actually cause your spine to shift by up to 4cm. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but believe me it is. The effects are pretty awful according to Carter.
“Resting your chin on your chest to look at your phone stretches the spinal cord and brain stem. This can affect respiration, heart rate and blood pressure.
“It can also mean that ‘happy hormones’, such as endorphins and serotonin, are not released, meaning people can wake up anxious.”
So basically using your phone too much can damage your spine and leave you permanently unhappy. There was me thinking that my iPhone’s battery life was the biggest phone-related concern in my life… Clearly I’ve got to start worrying about how attached I have become to all my Apple products. The medical advice is to avoid use laptops and phones while sitting or lying in bed, instead raising them to eye level.
Sensible advice of course, but then how will I continue to master ‘Words with Friends’ before I get in the shower every morning? It’s a tough one. Health or intellectual bragging rights over my friends. Sorry doctor, I love my phone more than my health.
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