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Physiotherapists have published research demonstrating that there is no such ailment as so-called text neck, which is said to be a pain in the neck that occurs after a person has spent too much time looking down at their phone.
Researchers based in Brazil conducted a study involving 150 young adults, which set out to explore whether there was a link between how much time individuals spent looking at their phone screens and their risk of developing neck pain.
However, no significant link was found, with UK physiotherapy experts highlighting that looking down to text is no different from looking down to do any other activity, such as reading a book, so any pain experienced would likely only be a coincidence.
These findings have been published in the European Spine Journal and confirm that 'text neck' is a patient or media invention rather than an actual health risk.
Ash James, a Liverpool-based physiotherapist and spokesperson for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, argued: "I doubt the ancient Greeks suffered from scroll neck and there wasn't too much newspaper neck around in the 1950s, for example."
With this in mind, physiotherapists whose patients believe they may be suffering from 'text neck' need to investigate whether other potential musculoskeletal problems are behind their pain.
If experts are simply passing off patients' complaints as 'text neck', then other more serious problems may be being missed, preventing individuals from receiving the care and treatment they really need.
Mr James continued: "The reasons why we may develop pain are vast and have many contributors. Pain in things like the neck, and back pain are usually the result of a number of things building up within the body, and very rarely down to one single cause."
He advised that making an effort to relax the muscles but keep all parts of the body moving regularly should help to prevent any strain when texting or doing similar activities, but that medical advice should be sought if this doesn't seem to help.
Written by Mathew Horton
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