Laptop addiction could turn out to be a pain in the neck

Bengaluru: Cervical pain is more common these days because of excessive use of technological devices, especially among IT professionals in the city. Doctors claim there is an increase in the number of patients, aged between 25 and 40 years, visiting them on a daily basis.

Cervical pain occurs due to poor posture, working at a desk or sitting in the same position for too long. “Continuously looking at electronic devices increases ones chances of getting cervical pain at a younger age. Continuing this activity can even lead to lifelong neck pain,” said Dr Narayan Hulse, Senior Orthopaedic surgeon and Additional Director of Orthopaedics, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road.

A 32-year-old IT engineer from the city with chronic neck pain due to excessive usage of laptop is being treated at Apollo Hospitals, Seshadripuram. The doctors say that working for long hours is the main cause for his pain.

In addition, the doctors also highlighted that the addiction to social media is becoming a major reason for such pains in the joints and bones. This is also why physiotherapy is now almost growing as everyone's necessity.

Babu J., Chief physiotherapist & HOD, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals said, “Physiotherapy departments have seen a surge in patients with neck pain nowadays.  This is due to a sedentary lifestyle, worsened by badly designed workplace ergonomics and excessive addiction to social media. This causes tilting the head forward for prolonged hours forcing the neck muscles, ligaments and tendons to strain. This condition is also called ‘text neck’; described as a repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive use of hand held devices over a sustained period of time.”

Dr Vasudev N. Prabhu, Consultant Orthopaedic, Trauma and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Seshadripuram also said that usage of smart phones over a long period of time causes pain in neck and upper back.

“Text neck, which was not heard of a decade ago, is a strain injury that is the result of hunching over smart phones. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) causes pain and weakness in the upper limbs from the neck to the finger. Orthopaedicians are also noticing signs of premature degeneration of the spine in people, who are very young, because of this,” he added.

Experts suggest that one should use their mobile phones and all other electronic devices such as laptop and tablet at the eye level as much as possible. “This helps in better position of your head and neck as one don’t have to bend the head forward or look down to operate their phones. Also, try taking frequent breaks from your mobile phones and laptops. If the pain is unbearable, you are advised to consult a doctor or go for massage therapy,” they said.

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