A chiropractor in Australia says he has seen an “alarming increase” in a degenerative neck condition that many call “text neck,” and nearly half of those afflicted are children.
“I have started seeing lots of cases over the past two years, especially in young schoolchildren and teenagers,” Dr. James Carter of New South Wales told the Daily Mail recently.
The condition is reportedly brought on when cellphone users use poor posture and sit, leaning forward, with their heads dropped as when sending a text message or staring at a phone’s screen.
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X-rays of suffers’ spines show signs of developing hunchbacks, according to the Daily Mail. It can also lead to increased levels of anxiety or stress.
“Instead of a normal forward curve, patients can be seen to have a backwards curve," Carter said. “It can be degenerative, often causing head, neck, shoulder and back pain.”
Doctors have known about the condition for a while.
Last year, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, published his research on the condition in the National Library of Medicine, according to The Washington Post.
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Hansraj said that, although the human head weighs only about 12 pounds, when the neck is bent 15 degrees the stress put on the spine is equivalent to about 27 pounds. At 60 degrees, it’s close to 60 pounds.
And with so many people carrying cellphones, this condition is cause for concern.
“It is an epidemic or, at least, it’s very common,” Hansraj told The Post. “Just look around you, everyone has their heads down.”
To avoid the common effects or developing the condition at all, Carter recommends people not use laptop computers while lying in bed and, instead of leaning into phones, raise devices to eye level to read or text.