Smartphones are becoming more popular than they were even just a few years ago, and more people in the world own a cell phone than ever before. Because a large portion of the population is relying more heavily on these cellular devices, there’s also a growing interest in the role the device plays in injury.
Not surprisingly, head and neck injuries have skyrocketed in recent years, and cell phones are certainly playing a role in this uptick. We takes a closer look at the most recent research on the subject in today’s blog.
Cell Phone Use And Head Injuries
Research has shown that head and neck injuries related to cell phone use have steadily increased over the last 20 years, but we’ve seen an even bigger jump in recent years. The data on cell phone-related head and neck injuries show that injuries rose gradually from 1998 to 2009, and then accelerated dramatically through 2017, the last year data was tracked for the study. From 2009 to 2017, rates of cell phone-related head and neck injuries climbed from roughly 7 per million person-years to upwards of 25 per million person-years.
Some of the other findings from the study include:
- Those between the ages of 13-29 were most likely to be injured when the cell phone distracts their attention from their surroundings.
- Those under the age of 13 were most likely to suffer a direct mechanical injury from a cell phone (like dropping it on their face, for example).
- Those between the ages of 50 and 64 were more likely to suffer cell phone use-associated injuries (like text neck or neck strains from repeated cell phone use).
- Driving while using a cell phone was the most common cause of distraction-related cell phone injury, followed by walking and using a cell phone, and while texting.
So while it’s clear that distraction-related cell phone injuries are on the rise, especially when people use the devices behind the wheel, that’s not the only reason for an increase in head and neck injuries. We’re also seeing more people come in for head and neck pain because they are constantly craning their head forward to look down at their phone. We need to be more cognizant of our body posture when we’re using our cell phone so that we aren’t putting excessive pressure on our cervical spine each and every day. If we don’t, and if we don’t stop using cell phone irresponsibly behind the wheel, we’re only going to see these injuries increase. It will certainly keep neurosurgeons busy, but we’d rather patients prevent problems than need to have them fixed by a specialist.
Please practice safe habits when using a cell phone, and perform regular posture checks so you don’t end up on our operating table!