Addiction is a word commonly associated with drugs, alcohol and gambling. Addiction can be defined as a compulsion to take a particular substance or engage in a particular activity even though doing so is clearly causing harm. It is possible to be addicted to anything, including work, shopping, sex and, nowadays, addictions to smartphones, the internet and social media are all too common.
In fact, one chiropractor has said that smartphone addiction is becoming such a problem that many children are developing hunchbacks as they spend hours huddled over their smartphones. He has even dubbed the condition text neck.
Dr James Carter has claimed that children as young as seven are spending hours on electrical devices and, as a result, are developing curved spines and hunchbacks. He said this smartphone obsession is causing damage to spines and necks, and that the condition is increasing at an alarming rate.
While patients often complain of headaches initially, it is soon apparent that they are suffering from a backwards curve in their neck. Dr Carter said, “I have started seeing lots of cases over the past two years, especially in young schoolchildren and teenagers.”
He said that people sitting for hours at a time with their heads bent forward over an electrical device develop a condition called text neck, and added, “Instead of a normal forward curve, patients can be seen to have a backwards curve. It can be degenerative, often causing head, neck, shoulder and back pain.
Dr Carter said that many patients complaining of headaches, fail a heel-to-toe test, and it is clear that text neck is causing their headaches.
Sammy Margo from the UKs Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said that text neck is increasing in the UK, saying, “When you drop your chin onto your chest for a long period you are stretching the whole structure.
She said that when this is combined with a sedentary lifestyle, it could result in serious consequences.
Dr Carter, who is from New South Wales in Australia, said that this condition may lead to spinal damage as well as depression and anxiety. Worryingly, around half of the patients diagnosed with this condition are teenagers and school-aged children.
A high percentage of parents are worried about the content being viewed by their children on smartphones. Fifty-two per cent are afraid their children will meet strangers online. A ComRes survey for Channel 4 News found that children are spending on average three hours each day on smartphones watching YouTube videos, using social media, or playing games. Dr Carter has warned against using smartphones or laptops while lying or sitting in bed, and says computer monitors should be raised to eye level.
Lack of Exercise
Nevertheless, Dr Chris McCarthy from Londons Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said that lack of exercise is more likely to be the cause of this neck pain. The consultant spinal physiotherapist said that while he has heard of the text neck condition, he believes that the wider problem is more likely to be a result of a lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle. He said, “Non-specific neck pain can be related to sedentary postures. As physios, we would support a notion that if a child does not do any exercise and stays in a static position playing computer games and on Facebook there is more chance they will get spinal pain, including in the neck.”
Smart Phone Addiction
A growing number of individuals in the UK are becoming addicted to their smartphones, and many parents are rightly worried about the amount of time their children spend on their phones. If you are concerned about your child and have noticed withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings and irritability when he or she is not on the phone, contact Rehab Helper today for free help and advice.