Several stories appeared in a number of publications warning people about the dangers of texting excessively. Chiropractors are leading the call of caution that texting for hours puts the neck in a position that creates health issues.
A CBS News story on October 10, 2011 advises the readers to “Add ‘text neck’ to your new world, digital dictionary”. The problem is that continuously texting causes a person to lean their head forward for long periods of time thus causing a loss of the normal forward curve in the neck. Chiropractors have warned for years that a loss of forward curve in the neck leads to a variety of health issues. Texting is the latest and most popular new technology that leads to this neck problem.
This problem has become international as was pointed out in an October 6, 2011 story in a British publication, the Telegraph. The story quotes Dr. Rachael Lancaster, a chiropractor from Leeds England, “Text neck is caused by the neck being flexed for a prolonged period of time. Sufferers are increasing as the use of smart phones and tablet computers become more popular.”
Dr. Lancaster likens it to putting other parts of your body into an awkward position for long periods of time. “Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position. That is exactly what people are doing with their necks. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses.”
Dr. Tim Hutchful, of the British Chiropractic Association noted that doctors are seeing a rising number of patients with similar neck problems. He explained the problem by saying, “When the head is over the shoulders it is a bit like a balanced see-saw, and when you move it forward you need to put a force in place to keep it in that position. The longer you are in that position for, the more the muscles have to accommodate it.”
An October 7, 2011 story from MSNBC on this same subject quoted Texas chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association Dr. Cynthia Vaughn who stated, “It’s a known phenomenon and that’s increasing and doctors need to educate their patients on the proper ergonomics of this.” Dr. Vaughn continued by offering a practical solution to prolonged texting, “I tell my patients the easiest thing to do is pick up the phone and call people.”