Last year, an article from Bloomberg Business revealed that the average smartphone user spends nearly three hours per day on their device, surpassing television as the most commonly watched screen. The staggering amount of time that a user spends glued to their phone has brought to light a new medical issue — “text neck.”
Yeah, you read that correctly.
Though the term may sound a bit silly, it’s nothing to joke about. Earlier this year, 14-year-old Sarah Atchison out of Colorado visited a doctor because of a lingering neck pain, 7NEWS Denver reported. “It was mostly just achy,” she explained. X-rays showed that her complaints were legitimate; there was a reverse curvature of her neck.
“I always look down at my phone,” Sarah said. She’s just one of many who are likely beginning to suffer the consequences of constant engagement with smartphones.
“‘Text neck’ is where the proper curve in the cervical spine actually gets reduced and can even move forward,” explained Dr. Chat Cotter, the chiropractor who is helping Sarah reduce the damage done to her neck. Cotter runs HealthSource Chiropractic in Littleton, Colo.
He noted that this type of issue used to take years and years to develop, but with the rise of cell phone use it’s been fast-tracked. “It’s alarming, it’s setting those kids up to having major problems as adults,” Cotter told 7NEWS. He hopes the chiropractic exercises will help reduce Sarah’s neck pain.
It’s no mystery that we as a society spend lots of time looking at our phones — just take a quick look around the next time you’re amongst a crowd. Thus, it can’t be entirely unexpected when smartphone users begin to complain of cervical spine pain. It comes with the territory.
Though Sarah’s case may be extreme, her story should serve as a reminder to spend a bit less time on your phone — or at least to not look straight down at it. You can watch the report from 7NEWS below.