DENVER — Are "horns" developing on 18-30-year-old's heads from leaning over and texting for long periods of time?
A recent study published in the Nature Research Journal suggests that they are, and it's causing quite the stir in the scientific community.
Two Australian researchers looked at 1,200 skull X-rays of adults ages 18 to 86. They found the area which connects the head to the neck is a transitional zone where about 1-in-3 people studied had developed a bony outgrowth — or a “horn,” as researchers called it.
The amount of bone growth was more prevalent in males and younger age groups 18 to 30 years old as compared to the others. Researchers think this can be from the additional weight and strain which is placed on the neck by being bent over for long periods of time, as compared to sitting upright.
How is this different than "tech neck?"
Tech neck is the same idea as the phone horn. For every 10 degrees you are hunched over, you put an additional 10 pounds of force on your body. So, if you are bent over at a 40-degree angle while texting, you are adding an additional 40 pounds of force on the neck and the ligaments which help to support your head.
Take a look in the mirror and check yourself out to see how much you are hunched over. Between texting on your screen, working on a computer monitor which is too low, or constantly being a on a laptop, you could be seriously affecting the amount of strain you place on your neck.
What can you do, both for yourself and your kids to potentially prevent this?
Cut back on texting. Studies have shown that teenagers can text up to 100 times per day. Just for fun, count how many times a day you are on your phone texting.
Check your neck and posture throughout the day. Extra weight on the neck will lead to multiple issues over time.
Reassess your desk set-up. Keep your monitor at eye level, support your feet so they do not dangle, rest your elbows and make sure those wrists are straight or below the elbows.
If you are having issues, take a break. Just like any other overuse injury, rest is key. If you do have worsening neck or thumb pain, get additional help like a wrist guard, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, ice, heating pads and massages.
Most importantly, remember that even if it doesn’t hurt now, it can lead to some long term changes!
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