You switch on your mobile phone. You mindlessly scroll through your social media feed and answer text messages. Before you know it, you’ve spent more than an hour staring at your mobile phone. Sounds familiar? Yeah, I’m pretty sure we ‘re all guilty of that.

This unhealthy habit of straining our necks for long while using our handheld devices has led to the Text Neck Syndrome. Even young adults can’t escape the clutches of neck injuries, given that many are wired to social media almost every waking moment.

Text Neck Syndrome

While it may sound harmless, this repetitive strain injury – caused by prolonged forward head posture when users engage in their mobile devices – poses a threat to one’s health. A person could apply over 18 kg of stress on one’s spine with an innocent 30-degree forward head tilt, while using his phone.

Here are four compelling reasons to keep the syndrome at bay:

  1. Many are unaware of this syndrome

According to a survey conducted by a group of undergraduate students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore, only 11% of its respondents know what the syndrome is. This is appalling as about 60% experience neck and back pains after extended usage of their phones. What exacerbates the situation is that 87% of young adults spend three or more hours a day on their phones.

  1. Health complications

The pain flags an issue of wear and tear, which may lead to spinal complications over time. Jeff Lim, Senior Physiotherapist at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) said: “Poor posture caused by the constant forward head posture while using mobile devices may lead to neck strains and degenerative changes to the cervical spine.”

  1. This syndrome creeps up onto you before you know it

Since there is almost no immediate detection of damaged muscles or joints, health ramifications such as spinal complications could go unnoticed. Prevention is thus the best policy.

An infographic detailing the short-term and long-term repercussions of text neck – which are not to be taken lightly. Source: Stand Corrected.

  1. Rising phenomenon among younger demographics

Despite being a phenomenon relatively unheard of, Text Neck Syndrome is on the rise among the younger demographics. As pointed out by Dr. Terrence Yap, Vice-President of The Chiropractic Association (Singapore), there is not only an increase in posture problems due to the use of mobile devices, but also an increase in chronic neck and back symptoms, which people used to experience at aged 60 and above and are now starting to affect people as young as 30 to 40 years old.

“Stand Corrected” campaign

From left: Joanne Tan (23), Hannah Wong (24), Fiona Ang (23) and Dannie Seet (26) are a group of four final-year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University. Source: Stand Corrected.

From 11 February 2017, a team of fervent final-year NTU Communications students behind this campaign will set up a mobile experiential booth along the streets of Orchard Road between 12pm and 10pm. The interactive “Rise of the Apes” booth will feature the stages of evolution of mankind and how humans might be “going backwards” in time with the proliferation of technology usage.

In hopes of hammering home the message to adopt good posture habits in their lifestyle, the initiative also features “Pay with a Stretch” – a free charging station for passers-by to charge their mobile phones for free following a simple stretch routine.

If you happen to be in town, lend your support to this initiative that highlights a health issue we all are susceptible to. Since we can’t do without using our phones, prevention is better than cure.

For more information and updates, visit Stand Corrected’s social media pages:

Facebook Page: @StandCorrectedSG  (www.facebook.com/standcorrectedsg)

Instagram Page: @standcorrectedsg (https://www.instagram.com/standcorrectedsg)