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Texting can hurt!

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The Consumer

Texting can hurt!

/ 01:11 AM October 12, 2011

The Text Neck Institute has opened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States to deal with aches and pains caused by SMS (short message service) or texting, as we know it.

Kimberly Hayes Taylor, writing for  msnbc.com, reported that chiropractor Dean L. Fishman trademarked Text Neck and changed the name of his practice after noticing that 90 percent of his patients had the same complaint—neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders and, sometimes, in the arms and hands.

Doctors and chiropractors said hunching over mobile gadgets was causing increased incidence of neck and shoulder aches and pains. They also warned that “all that curving of the body to text, type, watch videos, and play games could cause debilitating pain that lasts a lifetime.”

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Global epidemic

Fishman, who told Taylor “text neck” had become a global epidemic, said his youngest patient was a 3-year-old who loved playing games on an electronic device. He said while the problem was not actually new, it was getting more attention because so many more people had started complaining about it. Kindles, iPads, tablets, mobiles that kids and adults lugged around everywhere were causing posture problems.

Richard Wells, professor of applied sciences at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, conducted what was believed to be the world’s first research study on text neck. He found that “among 140 students who participated in an online survey, twice as many experienced pain in their shoulders, neck, and other areas when they used their devices three hours or more a day compared to those who used their devices for less time.” The study was published in the January 2011 edition of the Journal of Applied Ergonomics.

Wells said the longer people used mobile devices—“all the things we use to communicate with that have little keyboards”—the more they had pain in their necks, shoulders and thumbs.

One solution suggested by Texas chiropractor Cynthia Vaughn, spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association, was to hold the arms out and to look straight ahead. Taking breaks every 15 minutes and holding the head back could also ease the symptoms. Vaughn said she also advised her patients to do more calling and less texting.

Fishman had created a new Android app, Text Neck, that gave users a green light when they were properly holding their phones and a red light when they were holding their heads down and rounding their shoulders, Taylor said.

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TAGS: Neck, SMS, Text Neck Institute, Texting
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