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You could do cartwheels down the centre of a bus or train in peak hour and no one would notice, thanks to our latest modern addiction that has us all continually looking down.
And apparently, because of this need to be glued to our smartphone screens, a new survey by the Chiropractors’ Association of Texas suggests that it has created a brand new health disorder and, with no clear policy to help curb the issue, it threatens to put a strain on medical services.
According to Chiropractors, thousands across patients are apparently lining up in droves out their doors complaining of chronic neck pain, headaches, poor posture and repetitive strain injuries in the wrist and hands – all blamed on the use of mobile technology.
Worryingly, according to their survey, 45 per cent of patients who visit chiropractic clinics on a weekly basis are teenagers. These bad habits are setting them up for a lifetime of complex back and neck issues.
President of El Paso Injury Medical Clinic points out, “These are patients who are constantly looking at their phone in a bent-forward position. Postural bad habits over time can develop into more serious health conditions such as spinal degenerative disease, osteoarthritis, hunchback and reduced mobility.”
But they aren’t the only ones suffering. The expectation from employers to be constantly contactable is also to blame. Dr Alex Jimenez, “It’s often the 25-45 age group I’m seeing now who have grown up using technology.
“I have one patient in his mid-40s who is experiencing onset of hand and arm pain and discomfort, he uses his mobile for work and regularly checks emails… Another patient who works in the finance industry experienced similar symptoms of chest and arm pain. Further investigation and x-rays revealed moderate degeneration of the lower cervical spine.”
Dr Jimenez hopes these findings will encourage policy makers to address the issue; “It’s estimated that by 2025, more than 5 billion people worldwide will be using smartphones. Already… 81% of smartphone users have their mobile phone switched on all of the time even when they are in bed or in bathrooms.
“We see smartphone addiction and text neck as a serious health risk and something that needs to be addressed.”
There is some advice you can follow to help avoid these issues:
1. Straighten your posture. Use a mirror to help align your neck and spine. The correct posture means your ear and shoulders should line-up.
2. Gentle exercises. If you struggle maintaining correct posture, do some exercises to help alleviate muscle stress and pain. Gently arch your neck and upper back backward, pulling your shoulders into alignment under your ears.
3. Look ahead. Instead of looking down, try raising your device to eye-level.
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