It appears that a new expression, ”text neck” is on the rise due to the amount of time we spend hunched over our mobile phone and tablet computer screens.
The condition is causing concern for chiropractors who warn that flexing the neck for long periods of time can be a forerunner of permanent arthritic damage if it goes without treatment.
Experts say that this new repetitive strain injury is on the rise due to the increasing popularity of devices such as smart phones and the iPAD.
The condition can result in headaches, shoulder, and wrist and arm pain and in severe cases the muscles can eventually become accustomed to fit the flexed position, making it painful to straighten the neck out properly.
A spokesperson for Freedom Back Clinics in Leeds, Rachael Lancaster said: "Text neck is caused by the neck being flexed for a prolonged period of time. Joints and tissue in the neck are not built to withstand being flexed for long periods, and spending hours peering down at a screen puts them under too much stress.”
Lancaster added; "Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses and could eventually cause the natural curvature of the neck to reverse, potentially leading to serious health problems.
The advice given by chiropractors is to take regular screen breaks as well as looking straight ahead while tucking the chin back towards the neck every few minutes. Other useful tips include rotating the shoulders with your arms by your sides, sitting up straight while texting and holding the phone a little higher.
Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic Association said: ” Children are most at risk because their heads are larger in relation to their body size than adults and women with slender necks should also take extra care to maintain a good posture. When your head is over the shoulders it is a bit like a balanced see-saw, but when you move it forward you need to put a force in place to keep it in that position.”
Hutchful added that getting regular exercise could help ward off some of the symptoms.