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PUBLISHED: 10-25-10

Author Information:
J_Howard

 

jhoward@chroniclemail.com

Text messaging a real pain in the neckMobile devices cause neck, back problems from poor posture during use
Well-known conditions like "cell phone elbow" and "BlackBerry thumb" are modern terms for the pains people may feel because of recent inventions. "Text neck" is the next term to join the list.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released in January said children and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 send an average of 118 text messages per day.
According to Dean Fishman, practicing chiropractor and founder of the Text Neck Institute, in Plantation, Fla., this statistic explains why so many modern media users suffer from the symptoms of text neck: headaches, neck and shoulder pain.

"There are more than 4 billion mobile phones worldwide, so clearly it is a global epidemic," Fishman said.

This newly named condition is due to having incorrect posture while texting, Fishman said.

"If we could get[text neck] to a point of popularity, people would be more aware, and be more aware to fix their posture while using their mobile phones." Fishman said
Fishman suggested that maintaining good posture is key to correcting text neck symptoms.

"Proper posture is bringing the mobile phone to eye level, holding the phone so it is perpendicular to the floor," Fishman said. "You can tilt it anywhere [from] 90 to 70 degrees and still have proper position. Anymore and your head starts to go forward."

Chicago chiropractor Steve Goodman,, and said improper text messaging posture could result in long-term effects.

"Your head will be forward, and your shoulders will be rounded," Goodman said.

He said text neck is a concern for those of all ages because of the long term effects on children. The average teenager spends six to seven hours a day on
mobile technology, he said.

"It's an enormous concern," Goodman said. "As teenagers develop, it is only going to worsen."

Recently, an application for Android phones was created by Fishman to help correct text neck. This application alerts the phone user with a green light at the top of his or her phone when his or her posture is correct. When the Android phone passes the tilt limit, the phone will beep, vibrate and change the light to red, alerting the mobile phone user to return to his or her proper posture.

Fishman said the application has sold throughout the world, and he has had great feedback about it, but it is only one step toward correcting the problem.

"I only see the problem getting worse unless we spread the word about text neck and make sure people are viewing their technology with proper posture," Fishman said.

Text neck recently became more recognized because of its relationship to a posture everyone is familiar with, according to Scott Bautch, spokesperson for the ACA
and past president of the ACA's Council on Occupational Health

"I think it is going to become a term everyone is going to recognize," Bautch said. "It will become more of a syndrome, not just the neck but part of upper arm and hand pains."

Though there are risks that follow the use of mobile devices, Fishman is not advocating stopping their usage.

"I love technology. I am addicted to text messaging and games," Fishman said. "I am doing it with proper posture."

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