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X-rays reveal generation of potential hunchbacks

Tuesday 10th November 2015
X-rays have revealed the prevalence of text neck in children as young as seven. Image credit: Ingram Publishing
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X-rays of young people in Australia have revealed a worrying consequence of the modern digital age that could lead to a generation of hunchbacks all across the world.

Dr James Carter spoke to the Daily Mail Australia about the growing problem of 'text neck', a condition that he is increasingly seeing present in adolescents who spend a large amount of time on their mobile phones or laptops, bending their necks for long periods of time in order to see small screens. He warns that in the long term, this could lead to the development of a hunchback, as well as other health problems.

He detected the problem after noticing a larger number of teenage patients were coming to his surgery seeking treatment for headaches, but after full X-rays, he could see that many had the same issue - a backwards curve in the neck due to spending hours bent over a screen.

Worryingly, children as young as seven have shown signs of 'text neck', leading to concerns that hunchbacks and unnatural curvatures of the spine could be prevalent among the next generation.

Statistics show that the average smartphone user spends four hours each day looking down at their device's screen, placing as many as 1,400 hours extra strain on their neck and spine each year.

Sammy Margo of the UK's Chartered Society of Physiotherapy explained: "When you drop your chin onto your chest for a long period, you are stretching the whole structure. Eventually, in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, it could lead to serious consequences."

Dr Chris McCarthy, a consultant spinal physiotherapist for the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added that the problem is likely to be exacerbated if young people are not partaking in any exercise and stay in one position while online or texting. The more time a young person spends doing this, the pain in their spines throughout the rest of their lives is likely to be greater.

Written by Megan Smith

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