Doctors in capital report increasing incidence of 'Text Neck' syndrome

ANI | Updated: Dec 23, 2017 22:37 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 23 (ANI): There is a high chance that you are reading this on a smart phone, tablet, or a laptop, with your neck bending downwards and a hunched back. Mobile devices have transformed our lives but have also made us vulnerable to a series of health concerns.

Doctors in the capital say they are seeing an increasing number of patients complaining of neck pain and stiffness that can be directly attributed to excessive use of mobile phones as digital devices. The syndrome is being referred to as 'text neck'.

Studies have reported that an average consumer spends around 3 hours per day on an average on mobile devices in India, while in the United States; it is as high as 5 hours.

Excessive usage and poor posture while using mobile devices and other tech-gadgets causes repetitive stress injury on the neck and spine. To put it simply, prolonged duration of bending over electronic gadgets, causes text neck.

As the incidence of this condition is increasing amongst people due to increased dependency on mobile devices and handheld technology, doctors say that awareness on preventive measures and timely intervention can prevent this from escalating in to other serious medical conditions.

The condition text neck is fairly new, and because it slowly progresses in to a major problem, its dangers haven't caught on to public imagination.

"The term text neck was first coined by a US Chiropractor, Dr. Dean Fisherman in 2008 when he observed the hunched posture of one of his patients while texting. While texting or working on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic gadgets and handheld devices, the neck is most often bent downwards and the spine of the person is hunched forward. The human brain which weighs 4 to 5 kg is supported by the neck. Reportedly, even a little forward bending of the neck causes a good amount of tension on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, of the neck and shoulders. As, reportedly, mobile users spend 2 to 4 hours daily, it is only natural that the person will develop 'text-neck'", said Dr. R. K. Pandey, Senior Consultant, Orthopedics and Joint Replacement, Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka.

Out of all handheld devices, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops combined together contribute most to forming this condition.

Urban population is more at risk, with Delhi having over 4 crore mobile phone connections.

Ascertaining the number of people who are prone to this condition, Pandey explains the damaging aspects of text neck which if not prevented can have drastic affects.

"Untreated text neck can lead to degenerative spine disorders, muscle tightness and pain, even numbers and tingling down the arm. One should see a doctor in case one is feeling instant pain in the upper back or neck when using a handheld device, nagging or sharp pain in the shoulders, and headaches while looking down."

"It is best to avoid such conditions by avoiding prolonged activity on handheld devices, placing these devices at the eye level, and constantly monitoring your posture while working on these devices. Preventive measures also include taking frequent breaks, doing neck exercises, and increase in walking and general physical activity. Neck massages also help in relaxing the stressed neck," said Pandey.

Evolving technologies transform our lifestyle, and changing lifestyle brings along new medical conditions and diseases. It is in our interest that we are aware of new medical conditions and take preventive measures timely. (ANI)

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