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Originally published October 15 2011

Using smart phones, tablet computers can lead to 'text neck,' claim doctors

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) All that hunching over to look at your mobile phone or table computer screen can take a heavy toll on the joints and bones in your neck, claim doctors who have seen a massive increase in the number of patients coming to them with "text neck" symptoms. In some cases, the condition can become so severe that an individuals natural neck curvatures become reversed, which can lead to chronic headaches and even neurological problems.

A person's normal neck curvature is marked by a natural "C" curve, which indicates that the spinal cord and its corresponding nerves are in a relaxed, tensionless position. But when a person bends his or her neck to look down at a screen, for instance, these tissues and nerves become stretched -- and routine, prolonged stretching can stress neck tissue so badly that the entire bone structure of the spine becomes altered.

"Text neck is caused by the neck being flexed for a prolonged period of time," said Rachael Lancaster from Freedom Back Clinics in Leeds, England, to the UK's Telegraph. "Sufferers are increasing as the use of smart phones and tablet computers become more popular."

Maintaining a healthy posture is crucial for preventing back, neck and other skeletal problems in general. And particularly as it pertains to the critical head and shoulders area, remembering to take breaks from work by looking up, relaxing the neck, and keeping one's shoulders back instead of hunched forward, can make all the difference in preventing further problems down the road.

"Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for ten minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position," added Lancaster. "This is exactly what people are doing with their necks. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses."

Besides simply remembering to shift positions every once in a while, smart phone and tablet computer users (as well as anyone else that hunches over to write or read) can remember also to hold their devices up in front of their face, rather than down in their lap. By adjusting how they sit and at what angle they view such devices, users can help to prevent the onset of back, joint, and neurological problems.

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