Earth logo

How Smartphone Usage Reshapes Human Skeletons

The Text Neck Phenomenon Explained

By NICKSON NJERUPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
How Smartphone Usage Reshapes Human Skeletons
Photo by Max Chen on Unsplash

In today's digital age, smartphones have become ubiquitous, seamlessly integrated into nearly every aspect of our daily lives. From communication and entertainment to productivity and education, these handheld devices have revolutionized how we interact with the world around us. However, amidst the convenience and connectivity they offer, emerging research suggests that extensive smartphone usage may be exerting unforeseen effects on our physical well-being, specifically our skeletal structure. This intriguing phenomenon, known as "text neck," has garnered significant attention from scientists, healthcare professionals, and the general public alike.

At the forefront of this investigation are Dr. David Shahar and Dr. Mark Sayers, experts in biomechanics at Australia's University of the Sunshine Coast. Their pioneering study delves deep into the impact of prolonged smartphone usage on the human skeleton, shedding light on a previously unexplored aspect of our digital dependence. By examining hundreds of x-rays obtained from chiropractic clinics, spanning diverse age groups and demographics, Shahar and Sayers identified a striking pattern: a surge in the prevalence of "external occipital protuberances" (EOP) among younger individuals.

But what exactly is the EOP, and why is its emergence linked to smartphone usage? The EOP, a bony protrusion at the base of the skull, is typically associated with the attachment point of the nuchal ligament, which plays a crucial role in stabilizing the neck and supporting head movements. In individuals habitually engaged in smartphone activities, such as texting, browsing, and gaming, the neck tends to adopt a forward-leaning posture, placing excessive strain on the upper spine. Over time, this sustained pressure triggers a remarkable adaptive response: the gradual elongation and thickening of the EOP, effectively serving as an anchor to counteract the neck's forward tilt.

This fascinating biomechanical adaptation, colloquially termed "text neck," underscores the intricate interplay between modern technology and human physiology. Moreover, Shahar and Sayers' research revealed a notable gender disparity, with males exhibiting a significantly higher propensity for developing elongated EOPs compared to females. While the precise reasons for this gender discrepancy remain unclear, it raises intriguing questions about the differential impact of smartphone usage on the male and female skeletal systems.

Despite the groundbreaking nature of Shahar and Sayers' findings, their study has not been without criticism and skepticism. Some experts argue that the observed skeletal changes may be attributable to factors beyond smartphone usage, such as genetic predispositions or lifestyle habits. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the extrapolation of findings from chiropractic x-rays to the general population, highlighting the need for further research utilizing larger and more diverse datasets.

Nonetheless, the implications of the text neck phenomenon extend far beyond the realm of biomechanics. They underscore the profound influence of technology on human evolution and raise fundamental questions about the balance between digital innovation and physical health. As we navigate this ever-evolving landscape of technological advancement, it is imperative to remain vigilant and mindful of the potential consequences of our digital behaviors.

Moreover, the implications of the text neck phenomenon extend beyond individual health concerns to broader societal and cultural reflections. As smartphones continue to permeate every aspect of our lives, from education and employment to social interactions and leisure activities, understanding the long-term effects of excessive usage becomes increasingly critical. The rise of text neck serves as a potent symbol of the evolving relationship between humans and technology, prompting discussions about digital etiquette, screen time management, and the need for ergonomic design solutions. As we grapple with the challenges posed by our digital dependence, it becomes imperative to foster a culture of mindfulness and responsible technology use, ensuring that innovation enriches rather than compromises our physical and mental well-being.

In conclusion, the emergence of text neck serves as a poignant reminder of the complex interplay between technology and human biology. While smartphones have undoubtedly enriched our lives in countless ways, we must also recognize and address the unintended effects they may exert on our physical well-being. By fostering a greater awareness of our digital habits and promoting ergonomic practices, we can strive to mitigate the risks associated with prolonged smartphone usage and embrace a healthier, more balanced relationship with technology.


About the Creator


Nick Munene: Science & business writer. Distills complex concepts into engaging narratives. Analyzes market trends with precision. Dedicated to quality and continuous learning.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Good job


Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.