A scientific paper has links bone spurs in the young to tablet and smartphone use. (Scientific Reports/Nature Journal)

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

How often in restaurants, parks, buses, at home and even in traffic, do you see the tell-tale dipped head, the sign that someone is entranced by their phone?

According to two researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, dipped heads have consequences.

Their study, published in Nature Research’s Scientific Reports, suggests that bone spurs, called enthesophytes, are growing out of the back of people’s skulls because of the head dips, and the problem is especially prevalent in the young.

ALSO READ: Many millennials locked out of housing market

While it is well known exercise causes muscle and lung function to improve, it is only relatively recent that people are becoming aware our skeletons are malleable too. Increased stresses, strains and activity cause bones to grow stronger and even change shape, while inactivity causes them to grow more brittle.

The study’s authors, David Shahar and Mark Sayers, say our relatively heavy heads are perfectly balanced when sitting or standing upright, but when we dip, the load weight is moved from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth to cope with the strain.

The “phone bones,” as they’ve been dubbed by Australian media, tend to be between 10 and 31 mm long.

In the past, the growths were thought to be rare and only found in older people. However, over the past four years, the researchers have published three papers that show, using X-Rays, the growths are found in 41 per cent of young adults, with men more susceptible than women. The bone spurs take a long time to grow, so they would have been growing since early childhood.

Buoyed by their findings, the researchers decided to see if the protuberances are prevalent in the general population too. They used a sample of 1,200 subjects aged between 18 to 86 and found the growths in 33 per cent of them. With each decade of age, the rate of growths dropped.

The bone spurs have been discovered previously, but this study is thought to be the first to link them with technological use.

ALSO READ: Channel your inner pirate in epic Canada-wide treasure hunt

The duo writes that the condition “may be linked to sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets.

“Our findings raise a concern about the future musculoskeletal health of the young adult population and reinforce the need for prevention intervention through posture improvement education.”

Tablet and smart phone use have been linked to other health issues, such as forearm, back and neck pain, and migraines.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Science

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Burns Lake sees a peaceful protest denouncing the police killing of George Floyd

Cheryl Casimir, a member of the task group for First Nations Summit… Continue reading

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read