'Text neck' - what is it?


A new research study looked into the effects of prolongued smart phone usage on the neck and spine, assessing 18-25 year olds who spend up to eight hours a day using devices.


The study included 779 students who use smartphones, with 32% reporting neck pain, 26% shoulder pain, 20% upper back pain and 19% wrist and hand pain. Interestingly, there was a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in smartphone users who smoked and did little exercise. Smoking is not only harmful to lung tissue, it also increases healing time from soft tissue injury. Females were found to suffer aches and pains more than men - 71% compared to 28% respectively.


Typically, smartphone users will bend their necks slightly forwards when reading and writing text messages. You may also find users bending or twisting their neck sideways and putting their upper body and legs in awkward positions. These postures put excessive stress on soft tissues around the spine, leading to pain and discomfort.


We live in a world built around convenience, but we must educate the young about the importance of health and exercise, as well as moderating time spent using devices, including adopting safe postures.