You see them on buses. You see them in meeting rooms. You see them in front of elevators. You see them in diners. You even see them in mirrors.
…people holding their phones at their chest and looking down on them…
Many people are holding their phone in between their ear and shoulder to talk while their hands are occupied with other work. On the surface of it, we only see how phones connect us to the rest of the world or how phones disconnect us from our immediate surrounding. We talk only about the social challenges that excessive cell phone usage brings in. Sometimes we also talk about the effects of radiation from the phones.
But we never talk about how cell phones are threatening our physical health. Yes, excessive or improper use of cell phones is impacting our neck and finger bones tremendously.
This is a fact – craning your neck down exerts 5 times pressure on your neck bones as compared to when you keep it normally, straight to the spine. The prevalence of over-straining of the neck has become so high now, that this condition has a specific term to refer to it – tech-neck.
Let’s understand this chronic condition.
What Is Tech-Neck?
Tech-neck is nothing but a cervical spondylosis. A cervical spondylosis is a chronic bone disease where the bone and muscles in your neck starts degenerating because of overuse. This is a regular phenomenon that when a person grows old, due to wear-and-tear over the years, the cervical bone starts getting ‘old’ too. But when the same happens due to mere excessive or improper use of cell phone, it’s called a tech-neck.
A tech-neck necessarily is not only a pain in neck bone – it can be a minimal, recurrent muscle pain or a serious neck pain that radiates to the lower back as well.
Who Gets A Tech-Neck?
Everyone. From a 3-year-old child to a 60-year-old adult. Think about how much time we spend on our phones – a 3 year old is playing games; a 12 year old checking Insta updates; a 16 year old is watching sports and daily soaps; some are reading an e-book or searching for the perfect song. It’s like unless you are sleeping or using another e-device, you are on your phone.
At Sunshine, we see many children and young adults who report neck pain. Unfortunately, all those cases are credited to tech-neck. We do not ask you to stop using cell phones. We only urge that you hold your phones in the correct posture so that you can reduce the stress on the neck.
How To Hold Your Neck While :
The first thing you need to understand about your neck is that it stays relaxed only when you hold it straight to your spine. A 15-degree bend exerts twice the pressure and a 60-degree bend exerts 5 times more pressure.
Hence, relax your neck and hold the phone at your eye-level. You can use a one-hand holder/control for a better grip.
How To Reduce Tech-Neck?
Tech-neck is an acquired, lifestyle disease. It can be easily avoided, only if you are careful not to overuse your phone or hold the phone improperly for a long time.
Tips To Reduce Tech-Neck :
- Limit unnecessary use of cell phone.
- Use a Bluetooth device or earphones to talk if you are unable to hold your phone with your hand.
- Use a TV or a laptop to watch movies, sports or other entertainment programs.
- Read from e-books only when a hard copy is not available.
- Use a one-hand control to hold your phone at your eye-level while texting.
Above all, listen to your body. Many a time, we get so delved in our phone that we do not notice the subtle pain signals that we experience. If you experience any kind of discomfort – whether it’s pain or difficulty in movement – be alert. Visit a Doctor to know the condition of your neck. If there is any damage, a doctor will be able to guide you on how to manage the condition bet.
About The Spine Team :
The Department of Spine surgery involves three fellowship-trained dedicated spine surgeons who are involved in patient care including evaluation, surgery and post-operative management. The team believes in the Seattle ‘Team’ approach which ensures patient safety and reduces the complications drastically.
The USP of the department is a team approach and expertise in complex surgeries.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people with problems of the spine. We offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options for all types of spine problems, from the most common to the most obscure. Whether your treatment is to be medical or surgical, we are dedicated to applying leading-edge technology, the latest techniques and the most effective therapies to help you feel, move and live better.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.