By Avinash Prabhakar
New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS): With the growing addiction of mobile phones, people are also becoming victims of degenerative spinal changes, especially in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions.
Our posture at the time of receiving and making mobile calls can potentially give rise to musculoskeletal issues. A host of studies have linked the wrong posture while using phones with pain and dysfunction.
The joints of the body suffer from wear and tear process while it is active and it gets repaired during the period of rest. If we use the joints in abnormal posture for long time or pressure the joints in a single posture for long times, it will suffer for more wear and tear and one point will come where the wear and tear will be more in comparison with the repairs and the degeneration will start in the joints, Dr Uma Kumar, Head of Department, Rheumatology, AIIMS, told IANS.
"When we hold the mobile in hands, not only the fingers are used but our hands, elbow, muscle and neck are involved as we usually watch the mobile while bending the neck from netural position which is over the head and complete straight," Dr Kumar said.
AIIMS doctor said that there is a constant weight of brain, skull and muscles over the neck which falls on cervical spine. So if we work or watch the mobile in wrong way, the weight proportionally increase the pressure on the spine and muscles creating pains.
"When you tilt your head or angle it forward, the cervical spine's (neck) muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head. During exertions on the neck, it's the neck's intervertebral discs that help the force to be absorbed and distributed evenly," Dr Kumar said.
Talking about the increasing number of such patients, Dr Kumar said "We often in OPD meet such patients complaining of pain in waist, fingers or neck due to following the wrong posture."
Long-term forward head posture may also increase the risk for accelerated degenerative spinal changes, warned AIIMS Dr Kumar. Rather tilting the head down, keep it up and bring the mobile and laptop up to meet the eyes, she advised.
"Our head has around 5 to 8 kgs of weight, if we tilt it in any direction, it will exert more pressure on supporting muscles of neck, due to the gravitational force, but on long standing fixed position (prolong sitting on computer and use of mobile) it will result into the muscles fatigue, pain and degenerative disorders due to chronic long bad posture," said Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, Director, Bone and Joint Institute, Fortis Escort Hospital.
Dr Mishra said that "If our neck are in normal position, we exert 5.4 kgs of weight on neck, if head is tilted 15 degree forward, the weight will increase to 12.2 kgs, if it is tilted 30 degree, weight will be 18.1 kgs, if 45 degree, weight will be 22.2 kgs and if head is tilted 60 degree, the weight over the neck will become 27.2 kgs."
"That is why paying attention to the posture while using the mobile and laptop is a must to avoid the pain and disorder. When the neck and shoulder move forward, the muscles in the front get tighter and the back side becomes weaker and thus muscle imbalance happens," Dr Mishra said.
Proper posture, good ergonomics, and above all, strengthening of neck muscles will be the best prevention as well as treatment for neck, shoulders and upper back pain, Dr Mishra told IANS.