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

Just Posted

Canadian folk singer returns to Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

Seth Anderson prepares to release latest album, We Could Be

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

In the news: Liberals eke out a win, but will need NDP, Green support to pass bills

Conservatives say they are ready if Trudeau should falter

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Federal election saw 66% of registered voters hit the polls across Canada

Roughly 18 million people cast their ballots, voting in a Liberal minority government

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: SFU prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

Pipeline projects proceed under minority Trudeau government

Remains found under Kamloops street belong to woman who lived five centuries ago

Woman was between ages of 50 and 59, gave birth at least once, was right-handed

Greta Thunberg to attend post-election climate strike in Vancouver

Sustainabiliteens Vancouver strike expected to emphasize need for cross-party collaboration

Security guard bitten, punched by patient at Terrace hospital

Violent incident is one of many in northwest B.C., nurses’ union says

Most Read