Article by: Karen Keast
Physiotherapists are reporting an increasing number of teenagers and adults seeking treatment for severe neck and upper back pain labelled ‘iHunch’ and ‘text neck’, as people are spending more time with their shoulders hunched over their mobile devices.
Physiotherapy New Zealand said while there’s little research examining the impact of handheld devices on the body, technology alone is not to blame.
“We believe that this is about more than just technology use. Poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle and limited physical activity/exercise are not good for our health and can contribute to neck and back issues,” it said in a statement.
“We believe that this is about more than just technology use. Poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle and limited physical activity/exercise are not good for our health and can contribute to neck and back issues,” “it said in a statement.
“Whenever you are in a fixed position for too long, your muscles are under stress. It could be sitting at a desk for six hours straight, working on a production line or using your cell phone for extended periods.”
“It is not about ditching technology but making sure people and particularly children are educated about not putting the body into fixed postures for extended periods and encouraging them to break up their day with movement/physical activity.”
The statement comes after an American study found poor posture placed excessive stress on the cervical spine. The average human head weighs between 4.5 to 5.5 kg. The study showed that as the head bent forward, the force on the cervical spine increased. With a 15 degree angle of forward head tilt, the weight on the cervical spine grew to 12.2kg while at 60 degrees the weight was 27.2 kgs.
Physiotherapists can identify the cause of people’s back and neck pain, help relieve the symptoms, and provide tailored advice. If you are experiencing severe neck and upper back pain, call us at 02 9793 3119 to book an appointment today.