iPosture epidemic: Phones, tablets wrecking necks

Study: Young adults report more neck, back pain

INDIANAPOLIS - An epidemic known as iPosture is wrecking necks as more time is spent on mobile devices.

The position is the result of the neck bent with the head down while looking at a cellphone or tablet.

"Well you have to look at the human design. We do carry this bowling ball on top of our neck. And so you carry it well by balancing it," Dr. Ronald Young said.

Young, a St. Vincent neurosurgeon, said that bowling ball stays well-balanced by bones and ligaments, until a person leans forward.

"When you start leaning forward, now you have this suspension bridge with the muscles being the cables and having to hold that and activate continually. And so you have this continual muscular tension," Young said.

That tension causes pain and headaches in more young patients as they text, email, surf the internet, work or play games on tablets or smart phones.

A new study by Simplyhealth shows a concerning 84 percent of 18-year-olds to 24-year-olds reported suffering neck or back pain in the past year.

"It's a difficult problem because we have a number of devices which the way you use them is to hold them in your hand and look down," Young said.

Young has had to change his own iPad habits during rounds. He says being aware of slouching is half the battle. Parents should take note of how much their kids are slouching and fix it.

Young said that icing and massaging can help temporarily, but the permanent fix is to spend less time slouching over mobile devices.

Experts say to hold a mobile device up more, or put it down more during the day.

The study showed that 18-year-olds to 24-year-olds spend a total of about eight hours a day looking at a computer, laptop, tablet or phone.

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