March 25, 2023

Staring at your phone screen for hours every day could cause so much neck damage that it requires surgery.

Called ‘tech neck’, experts warn that repeated stress on bones, nerves and muscles can cause chronic pain. Muscle stiffness, joint inflammation, pinched nerves, arthritis, and even bone spurs or herniated discs can also occur.

Americans spend an average of more than five hours scrolling on their smartphone each day, according to the University of Texas Southwestern, and even more time staring at laptop and computer screens.

A typical adult’s head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, and tilting it forward at a 45-degree angle to look at a cell phone increases the amount of force on the neck by almost 50 pounds.

Phones and social media are an integral part of modern life and many jobs require additional time in front of computers, which has significant effects on physical and mental health.

The more you tilt your head, the greater the equivalent pressure exerted on your neck.

Holding your phone at eye level will help reduce tension and may prevent future neck pain and problems.

Holding your phone at eye level will help reduce tension and may prevent future neck pain and problems.

Dr. Kavita Trivedi, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Southwestern, said: “Humans are upright creatures and our bodies are not designed to look down for long periods of time, which puts extra pressure on the cervical spine. .’

He explained that when constantly looking down, the additional force of 50 pounds can strain or injure the joints connecting the vertebrae.

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The more you lean down, the higher the pressure, with a 60 degree bend equaling 60 pounds.

The surrounding muscles tighten in an attempt to protect the nearby nerves, which in turn leads to inflammation, pain, and knots in the neck.

It is increasingly affecting teenagers and young people, as more and more children get smartphones at younger ages.

Non-surgical treatment options include medication and physical therapy, trigger points and steroid injections, as well as nerve blocks.

In the worst cases, patients may require surgery.

A ‘neck lift’ involves incisions around the ears and hairline to tighten the underlying muscle and remove excess skin.

In general, it is a safe procedure with no more risks than any other surgery.

Holding your phone at eye level will help reduce tension and may prevent future neck pain and problems.

Dr Trivedi said: “The good news is that most patients with tech neck do not require surgery, and we have a wide range of therapies that can be very effective.” There is no need to live with pain if it can be treated.

She added: ‘Our phones and tablets are valuable tools, and there’s no need to give them up. The solution is to learn how to prevent tech neck while using these devices, and if pain develops, see a specialist who can help.’

2008 literature review found that office sitters and computer users had the highest risk of neck pain of all workers.

And a report from found that humans spent a combined 4.1 trillion hours, or 470 million years, looking at their phone screens in 2022.

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The frequent use of smartphones has been linked to many potential harms in addition to the technological neck.

TO study 2017 by Turkish researchers found that college students who were addicted to their phones were more likely to suffer from loneliness or aggression.

With loneliness comes mental health issues and a study 2021 by Israeli researchers linked excessive smartphone use to anxiety, depression, and related problems such as shyness and low self-esteem.

These participants were also more likely to report poor eating habits, further increasing their risk of dietary conditions.