The Sun Online
IT’S no doubt changed your life.
But your smartphone could also be wrecking your posture, leaving you with “text neck”.
Yep, you heard right.
We are so addicted to our phones, so obsessed with documenting our lives on social media and staying in touch with friends, that we are actually damaging our spines!
Bob Chatterjee, a surgeon at Harley Street Spine and Highgate Private Hospital, warned there has been a rise in the number of people experiencing migraines and blurred vision due to “text neck”.
“Text neck” is a repetitive stress injury or overuse of the neck, caused when a person has their head flexed in a forward position and is bent down looking at their mobile phone for long periods of time.
Of course, it is not just phones that are to blame for this phenomenon.
Laptops, iPads and all other forms of personal electronic devices cause people to hold their head and neck in the same way.
Mr Chatterjee said he has seen an increase in patients whose symptoms are directly related to smartphone use.
He said: “I am starting to see a lot more patients, mainly business professionals who are suffering from chronic pain and headache like symptoms which is often referred pain from the neck and shoulders as a result of using the phone in such a way that compromises their spine.”
About two thirds of people use a smartphone for two hours every day to browse the internet, use social media, shop online or chat to their friends, according to the 2015 Ofcom communication report.
Dr Chatterjee added: “While there is awareness of ‘text neck’ syndrome the increase use in smartphones seem to correlate to the higher number of patients suffering from this modern day disease.
“Prolonged poor posture will cause pain and create further symptoms for the sufferer including neurological disorders such as headaches and poor vision if their use of such devices has not improved.
“We tend to see patients at the point where the pain has become debilitating and forces the individual to refrain from certain daily activities such as work.
“The constant use of smartphones encourages the head to lean and tilt forward in an awkward position, particularly if you are holding the phone to your ear.
“The brain and the cranium is the heaviest part of the body – the head should be in line with the spine not, slightly forward and to the side as in the case when using a phone.”
The main symptoms of “text neck” include: liTightness and stiffness across the shoulders
liSoreness across the neck liChronic headaches, Changes in the curvature of the cervical spine along with changes in the supporting tendons, ligaments, musculature, and bony segments leading to postural change in extreme cases Pain in the neck, back, shoulders, arm, hands, fingers, wrists and elbows liNumbness and tingling felt in the shoulders and arms
How to use your phone and avoid text neck:
If you are on your phone constantly and you’ve noticed your neck is a little stiffer than usual, there are things you can do to avoid being struck by “text neck”.
Here are the top five tips from the Harley Street Spine clinic.
For example, if you tend to use it in your left hand try using it in the right every other time. But you should always refrain from holding the phone to your ear using your shoulder. This is the fastest way to create poor posture.
But if you don’t have handsfree earphones use the loudspeaker option on your phone more often. On a regular basis stretch your head away from your shoulder and tilt it into the opposite direction that you use. And if you feel the pain is so bad a stretch won’t fix it, try getting it massaged to work out the tension.
This should help you avoid tension in your neck and the space between your shoulders.
It will also help us to improve your overall postureWe pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the- sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368