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Are mobiles and other gadgets hurting your neck and causing text neck syndrome?

Are you suffering from 'Text Neck' Syndrome?

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 Delhi say they are seeing an increasing number of patients with text neck syndrome. 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. With 730 mobile phone users in India and not much awareness, there are high chances of the condition spiraling into a worrying situation. With complaints of neck pain and stiffness, the syndrome can be directly attributed to excessive use of mobile phones, says Dr R. K. Pandey, Senior Consultant, Orthopedics and Joint Replacement, Venkateshwara Hospital, Dwarka. Here are 10 health hazards of mobile phones.

What is text neck syndrome?

The excessive usage and poor posture while using mobile devices and other tech-gadgets causes repetitive stress injury on the neck and spine. In simple terms, prolonged duration of bending over electronic gadgets causes text neck. The condition text neck is fairly new, and because it slowly progresses into a major problem, its dangers haven t caught on to the public imagination.

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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." Also read about 7 causes of neck pain that will surprise you!

Text neck -- Why is it dangerous?

Out of all handheld devices, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops combined together contribute most to forming this condition. In India, there are over 730 mobile phone users, and 367 internet users who are hitched to texting, gaming, and spending time on social media. 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, Dr R. K. Pandey explains the damaging aspects of text neck which if not prevented can have drastic effects. 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. Here are 5 signs you need to go to a spine specialist ASAP!

How to prevent text neck?

Avoid prolonged activity on handheld devices, place these devices at the eye level, and constantly monitor 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 Dr R. K. Pandey. Evolving technologies transform our lifestyle, and changing lifestyle brings along new medical conditions and diseases. We must take care of these.

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