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

Williams Lake Stampede poster contest winner unveiled at dinner, dance and auction

Amy Piquette was named the poster winner of the 94th annual Williams Lake Stampede

EnGold acquires property option in Lac la Hache

The Tam Property comprises 875 hectares of mineral claims

School District 27 staff eyes disposal of several district-owned properties

McLeese Lake and Bridge Lake schools could be on the market

SURVEY RESULTS IN: School District 27 staff report recommends trustees vote to do away with fall break

2020/2021 draft calendar shows no fall break and two-week spring break

First annual Ian Pinchbeck Memorial Pickleball Tournament coming up this Saturday, Feb. 29

Pinchbeck, who passed away this past December, was an avid member of the WLPC

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read