FORT MYERS, Fla.- It could change the way you look at your phone forever. Some call it “text neck,” doctors are calling it an epidemic.
Everywhere you look you find someone looking down, staring at their smartphone. But do they know how dangerous it could be to their health?
“The minute you start to tilt forward like looking down, it exponentially increases the stress, specifically on the lower cervical spine,” said Tom Reid.
Reid is a physical therapist at Lee Memorial’s Spine Center. He says they’re seeing more and more people coming in with aches and pains possibly associated with “text neck.”
“We walk out in the waiting room and call them back, I’d say half of our patients are sitting there staring at their phones waiting for us to come get them,” said Reid. “They’ll say ‘I have neck pain’ or they’ll say ‘I have back pain’ but they don’t know how it happened.”
The average person’s head weighs between 12 and 15 pounds.
Reid compares looking down at your phone to holding a sledgehammer. It’s a lot easier to hold it upright than at an angle.
“That’s kinda the same thing going on with the neck when you’re looking down all the time, and eventually that can wear on the joints, create degenerative conditions of the joints, you can get disc herniations, disc bulges, that can eventually lead to neurological compression. If it continues, I can definitely see it being an epidemic,” said Reid.
But fighting this epidemic, will be an uphill battle.
“I’ve gone to the doctor before about neck pain, she told me to limit my amount on my phone, but that’s kind of impossible for me to do,” said Amber Orlando.
Reid says the best way to avoid getting “text neck” is to limit your usage.
If you have to use your phone often, he says it’s best to hold it up to your face so that you’re looking straight ahead.