Killing you softly with iPhone

It seems more and more nowadays, smartphones are a must have device, that offer instant access to information and entertainment. You only have to walk through a MRT station or bus stop and see multiple “blue hue” faces glaring into their devices as the world passes them by. And while it certainly seems important to have these hand held devices … on hand, they seem to have some negative effects on the human body.

In a paper titled “Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine caused by Posture and Position of the Head” Chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine Kenneth Hansraj has discovered that looking down at a smartphone for texting and other purposes puts added pressure on the user’s neck.
“As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees,” Hansraj wrote in a paper, posting the image above. “Cumulatively this is 700 to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses seen about the cervical spine,” he said, or between two to four hours a day spent over the screen of a smartphone or other smart device.

“While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over,” he said. In addition to this “text-neck” physical effect smartphones have, there might be one other problem affecting smartphone users on a psychological level.

The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology has detailed a condition known “telepressure:” “workers might feel varying levels of preoccupations with and urges for responding quickly to messages from clients, coworkers, or supervisors — an experience we label as workplace telepressure.”

According to the study, telepressure is distinct from other conditions related to workplace stress, as people affected by it often don’t sleep well, and are more likely to take time off from work.

A very real example was recently reported by Gizmodo reporter – Adam Clark, he eventually had to visit a New York University doctor’s office to take care of his problem.

“A few months ago I started getting headaches, and they were weird,” he describes his problem. “If a bad hangover headache feels splitting, I’d describe these headaches as searing, as if someone had hit me over the head with a red-hot rod of steel sending electric bolts of pain across my skull.”

Doctor Myrna Cardiel offered him a diagnosis after a 20-minute long examination: Occipital neuralgia, which appears to be quite common with a certain demographic. Further advancing with her questionnaire, she asked Estes whether he works on a laptop or desktop a lot and whether he does anything that could strain neck muscles. “What about smartphone usage?” Estes asked. “I’m constantly craning my neck to look down at my phone. Maybe that has something to do with it.” “You know what,” Dr. Cardiel replied. “I’ve been a practicing neurologist for 10 years, and I’ve seen cases of this condition skyrocket since smartphones became popular. I should write a paper.”

This condition – if managed correctly and caught early can very much be cared for under the skilled management of our team of Chiropractors at ActiveLife. If you know you’re spending too long looking at your phone and it’s really becoming a literal pain in the neck – don’t wait till it becomes a problem that is irreversible.

For more information or to schedule an appointment:

Call our Orchard Clinic:   +65 6733 6421

Call our Novena Clinic:   +65 6694 5223

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