First there was Blackberry thumb, the repetitive strain injury resulting from too much typing on mobile devices. Now bloggers and media outlets are buzzing over the latest new epidemic to start worrying about: text neck.
Doctors and chiropractors are claiming too much time spent bent over mobile devices is causing a rise in a range of symptoms such as neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders, and sometimes in the arms and hands.
Even worse, hunching over your phone to text, watch movies, or play games could cause a debilitating pain that lasts the rest of your life, some reports say. The Telegraph in the UK reported that some cases are so severe that the muscles eventually adapt to the flexed position, making it painful to straighten the neck out properly.
The average human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds (4.5kg to 5.5kg), and the neck and shoulders are not made to support its weight for long stretches, say experts. Children are especially at risk because their heads are larger in relation to their body size than adults. "The condition, which can result in headaches and shoulder, arm, and wrist pain, most often afflicts tall, young women with slender necks," noted blogger The Frisky.
"Maybe there needs to be an app that makes our phones yell 'Put me down! Keep your chin up!' at us every hour or so," adds blogger Jezebel.
If you're a dedicated texter, be sure to take frequent breaks, and stretch your head, neck, and back. Experts also suggest holding your phone higher to keep your neck in alignment with your spine.