According to a recent survey reported on by The Blaze, the average American sends 41.5 text messages per day, although the 18-24 age group sends a whopping 109.5 texts per day. This is a lot of time hunched over a small screen and research is saying its beginning to round out its own medical condition: the text neck.
Daily Mail reports chiropractors as saying they are seeing more and more patients with strained neck injuries associated with bending over tablets, smartphones, cellphones and other small mobile devices:
Rachael Lancaster, of Freedom Back Clinics in Leeds, said: "Text neck is caused by the neck being flexed for a prolonged period of time.
"Sufferers are increasing as the use of smart phones and tablet computers become more popular."
The condition occurs because the joints and tissue in the neck are not built to withstand being flexed for long periods, and spending hours peering down at a screen puts them under too much stress, she added.
"Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position.
"That is exactly what people are doing with their necks. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses."
Keeping the neck and head stretched forwards for long periods could eventually cause the natural curvature of the neck to reverse, potentially leading to serious health problems, she added.
Gizmodo pokes fun at the condition saying that entrepreneurs had better be getting their patent requests and infomercials ready to take advantage of products that could offset text neck:
Seriously, start working on all manner of $19.95 plus shipping neck braces, salves, ointments and Text Neck exercise gear—the sheer number of smartphone users in the U.S. today literally guarantees there will be at least a few hundred thousand slow, dim-witted ones who will gladly pony up the cash to address their ailment.
Watch a local news report about the condition from last year:
And, this new condition was announced just in time. Tomorrow, Apple will be releasing iMessage, a new form of communication that is like texting, sans the high fees. The iMessage app, according to TG Daily, will allow users to send messages over a Wi-Fi or cellular data connecting while maintaining the look of a text message. The app will become available October 12 as part of iOS 5.
The New York Times recently reported that iMessage will join a host of text message alternatives, like chat providers and Blackberry messenger, that are bypassing text message charges, which range up to 20 cents per message:
“There’s a huge amount at stake here,” said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, who covers the telecommunications industry. “They are undermining the core business model for an industry that makes most of its money from services that are high priced and low bandwidth, like texting.”
With all these new forms of text-like communication, looks like 'text neck' could be here to stay. To combat the condition, Daily Mail suggests sitting up straight and holding the phone closer to eye level when texting to avoid curving your neck.