Oh hey, remember when news came out about an epidemic of ‘text neck’ or ‘tech neck’ and we all melted into a puddle of panic?
Well, it turns out there may have been no need to worry – text neck might not actually be a thing.
A new study involving 150 young adults in Brazil found no association between using a phone and neck pain, finding no correlation between a person’s neck posture and the frequency or intensity of their neck pain.
Ash James, a physiotherapist and the spokesperson for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, told the Mail Online: ‘Text neck isn’t an epidemic – it isn’t even a thing.
‘The notion of text neck has grown in recent times but as this research indicates, there isn’t much evidence behind it.
‘This study shows that those who had pain, text and used their phones just as much as those without pain.
‘The use of phones is likely incidental to the development of neck pain.
‘The actual mechanics of looking at a phone are no different to reading a book, which we’ve done for centuries with few alarms, so there really is no need to worry.
‘I doubt the ancient Greeks suffered from scroll neck, and their wasn’t too much newspaper neck around in the 1950s, for example.’
Rather than blaming our phones for all our neck-related ills, we should be looking at a number of possible causes, which James notes are usually down to ‘a number of things building up’ rather than just one thing.
‘Just relax, keep moving and you should be fine,’ he notes.
So we spent all that time worrying for nothing, then. We can text and Tinder and tweet as much as we fancy.
It makes sense that text neck might not actually be a real thing, mind you.
The phrase was trademarked by a chiropractor, Dean Fishman, who said he diagnosed the first case of text neck… then created the Text Neck Institute to treat the condition.
Creating an institute for something tends to make people think it’s a real issue, as does then speaking to a lot of people about the perils of text neck, as Fishman did. But should we really have thrown all our trust in the veracity of text neck to someone who’s built their business around treating it? After all, the creator of the Text Neck Institute is hardly going to declare that, actually, text neck may not exist.
Of course, the truth is we don’t know for sure what our reliance on our smartphones is doing to our necks – we haven’t been able to do longitudinal studies, as our phone use has only ramped up in the last decade.
More research is needed before anyone can definitively declare that looking at your phone 24/7 is totally fine, or that it’s doing awful things to our necks.
But for now, just don’t panic. If you have persistent neckache, chat to your doctor about it rather than self-diagnosing or throwing your phone out of the window.