As if carpal tunnel, driving while texting and the possibility that your cell phone might be seeding a tumor in your brain weren't enough, meet another new ailment of the information age -- Text Neck .
The phrase was coined by Florida chiropractor, exercise physiologist and entrepreneur Dean Fishman, who tells Daniweb that he came up with the phrase after beginning to see "an increase in frequency of younger people presenting to my office with complaints of headaches, neck and arm pain and discomfort."
He says all the young patients used texting as a primary form of communication and spent a lot of time in front screens such as laptops and gaming systems. In other words, they were spending an inordinate amount of time with their head tilted forward and down and that poor posture puts extra pressure on bones, muscles and joints, leading to the symptoms of text neck.
But Fishman tells us a sore neck is just the beginning of the potential health problems tied to too much texting and screen time.
"Medical research has shown that long term forward head posture will cause early spinal arthritis, disc degeneration, headaches, up to a 30% decrease in lung capacity to just name a few conditions. A survey was conducted with 6,000 chronic headache sufferers and the only common finding among them was the loss or reversal of the normal curve in the neck."
Like any good doctor (or entrepreneur), Fishman has a way to treat his diagnosis. He's helped to design an app currently available on the Android market that alerts texters when their posture is putting them at risk of Text Neck.
"The app works off of the accelerometer. It senses the pitch angle of the phone and alerts the user," explains Fishman. "In order for you to actually see the screen comfortably you have to hold it with proper posture otherwise it alerts you with the indicator turning red, and an optional vibration and beep."
The app also includes exercises to combat the onset of Text Neck.
"The exercises are designed and have been shown (to) increase the strength and endurance of the postural muscles that are affected by this text neck presentation," says Fishman.
Preliminary medical research in recent years seems to support the notion of a connection between texting and neck pain, but many doctors in the field say more research is required.
Fishman's app is available for a one-time fee of $2.99.
Images courtesy Neurotilt.