By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
People of all ages are glued to their mobile phones. Other than the social impact, this phenomenon causes serious health issue to the neck.
Neck posture is bending forward for many hours a day, everyday, for many months and years. Can you imagine our teenage children are having this habit from such a young age? The damage to the neck is accumulative and irreversible to some extent.
Excessive mobile use causes upper cross syndrome
The more forward is the neck posture, the harder the neck muscles need to work to maintain the head up. This cause muscle imbalance and neck pain. This condition is called “Upper Cross Syndrome”. The neck pain does not get better unless the cause is identified and avoided.
Overtime, this causes chronic pain which is even more difficult to treat.
Excessive mobile use causes premature degeneration on the discs in the neck
Forward neck posture exerts excessive amount of pressure to the discs in the neck. This causes premature degeneration on the discs. The discs become thin and bulging. Sometimes, it causes narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve compression.
The symptoms do not appear immediately. It may take years to manifest. But sure it will. Thus, it is important to limit mobile use.
There are some tips that you can do to reduce the damage to the neck when you need to use your mobile excessively
- Read your mobile at the eye level so that you neck posture is still upright.
- Do regular exercises
- Do strengthening of the inner neck muscles to balance up
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.