It is not uncommon to see youngsters as young as 4 or 5 mastering technology these days. This new age of technology is definitely creating more problems than texting while driving or not joining in at the dinner table ~ it is leading to some unusual health issues mostly reserved for older folks.
The Center for Disease Control states that the most common disease that affects our joints is arthritis ~ an estimated 50 million adults in the United States has some form of it. Wear and tear on our joints, injuries, being overweight, and aging all play a role.
Now doctors are seeing a much younger group with joint problems in the wrist and hands, something most likely to be seen in the past in secretaries, spending hours typing. Doctors suspect what may play a role in this are the hours young people spend texting on phones, and navigating all those video games and home entertainment devices. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study found middle and high school students averaged 95 minutes of texting everyday and young people are spending more than 7 hours a day on some type of entertainment media.
Another strange phenomenon that has suddenly emerged ~ “text neck” defined as overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive pressure on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device, i.e., mobile phone, video game unit, computer, mp3 player, e-reader. This can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, breathing compromise, and much more. There is an actual institute by this name in Florida, The Text Neck Institute of Florida, founded by Dr. Dean Fishman, developed solely to address this issue. My own granddaughter, just a few weeks ago, was taken to the doctor to be checked out because of a strange neck pain. It was discovered that she had spent some time in a cramped position with a mobile device, reading a book. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious; however, it was so interesting to discover that there is an actual name for it…..”text neck!”
According to Fishman, “The need for chiropractic care has significantly increased with advances in mobile technology, and the reality that the public at large is constantly “connected.” About two years ago, I started to notice that more and more young people were coming to my office and presenting with similar complaints. They all had neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or numbness and tingling into the upper extremity.”
With 75% of our teens now having cell phones and 33% sending more than 100 texts per day, it is apparent that our mobile technology has created the possibility of serious joint issues in our young people’s futures. What about you? Have you or your children experienced any of this?