Scientists: Frequent use of smartphones leads to the growth of the horns. Literally

Mobile technology has revolutionized our lifestyle – how we read, work, communicate, make purchases and meet. But it has long been known thing. However, there is something else that many of us may not yet realize – these tiny machines can not only change our behavior but also our bodies that we use in order to use these gadgets. New research in the field of biomechanics suggests that young people today have increasing hornlike spines – bony growths on the back of the skull caused by frequent head tilts forward, shifting her weight off of the spine on the muscles of the back of the head. This, scientists say, leads to growth of bone in tendons and ligaments.

The researchers note that weight transfer, causing a build-up that can compare with the way how our skin there are blisters in response to pressure and abrasion occurs in the seal skin. Only in this case, people just above the neck there is a small bump of bone or horn.

Why it is important to correct posture?

In several scientific papers, a team of scientists from the Australian University of the sunshine coast said that the monitoring of cases of bone growth in adolescents are associated with changes in posture caused by the use of modern technology. Scientists claim that smartphones and other mobile devices make the human form to literally curl up, requiring us to tilt the head forward to see what happen on the small screen of the gadget. According to the researchers, their observations are the first documented evidence of the in response to the penetration of modern technology in our daily life, our body starts physiological or skeletal adaptation.

Experts in the field of health has noted the emergence of the so-called syndrome of “text neck” (the man keeps his neck in a tilted posture due to the frequent use of a mobile device) or tunnel syndrome of the thumb, which the researchers associated with frequent get-togethers in video games and using the numeric keypad of smartphones, but up to this point, the researchers have never tried to draw Parallels between the use of mobile devices and deep bone changes in our body.

“The most important question of our research is what the future of the young adult generation, if the development of such degenerative processes observed already at such an early stage of their lives?” — ask the authors of the study, in his latest work, published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The results of this study saw the light last year, but passed imperceptibly. A new wave of interest appeared only after the recent publication of edition BBC the story of how modern technologies can change our skeleton. The article attracted the attention of the Australian media, creating even more of a kind of competition for the best description of these growths: “horn”, “smartphone bone”, “spikes”, “strange protuberances”, was full of headlines of publications.

According to David Shahar, lead author of this study, chiropractic, recently defended his doctoral thesis in biomechanics at the University of the sunshine coast, fits any of these definitions.

“It all depends on your imagination. Some of these things can resemble a bird’s beak, another the horn, and the third hook. Fits any definition” — he has noted in conversation with the newspaper The Washington Post.

But whatever it was, said Shahar, this has grown is a sign of a serious deformation of the posture, which can cause chronic headaches, vertebral and cervical pain.

One of the most surprising facts in this study is the size of these growths, says Shahar. On average, it is considered to be quite large if we are talking about the length of 3-5 mm, however in the sample of scientists came only when it was about the growths the size of at least 10 millimeters.

The danger is not in the hornlike growths, says mark Sayers, associate Professor of the Department of biomechanics of the Australian University of the sunshine coast, which was curated by Shahar in this study and the second co-author. This build-up, rather, “a signal that the body something is wrong that back and neck are not in proper position”, the researcher says.

The work of scientists started about three years ago with a series of x-rays of the thoracic patients in Australian hospitals in Queensland. These images are partially covered part of the human skull, including external occipital protuberance, to which are attached some of the cervical ligaments and muscles are formed and where the actual bony growths, called ensolite.

Contrary to the popular idea of bony hornlike growths that are typically observed turn rare and mostly only in the elderly after years of physical exercise, Shahar found that these formations were frequently found on radiographs of young patients, including those who have not observed there are no obvious symptoms associated with the presence of these “horns”.

First results of observations of a group of Australian scientists was published by the scientific Journal Journal of Anatomy in 2016. In particular, they reported the analysis of x-rays 218 people aged 18 to 30 years. It turned out that 41 per cent (which is much higher than the global statistics) of these young people was observed in these formations. Then the scientists also noted that this feature is more common in men.

According to Sayers, the problem is called “the increase in the outer part of the occiput” ‘ve met so rarely that one of the first observers in the late 19th century argued on the topic that actually no increase exists. Well, the modern world dictates completely different rules and draws a completely different picture.

Another work of scientists was published the journal Clinical Biomechanics in the spring of 2018. It in particular addressed the case of the four teenagers. The study authors found that the growths are not some sort of genetic factor or a consequence of some disease, but rather are the consequence of mechanical load on the muscles of the cervical-cranial Department.

Modern technology and the consequences of their use

The article in the journal Scientific Reports, published a month earlier to the above work, researchers reported an increased sample of patients and 1200 study radiographs of patients from Queensland aged 18 to 86 years. Scientists have discovered a bone growth processes, which were observed in 33 percent of the population and, as it turned out, their presence decreased with age.

It turned out that this discovery contrasts sharply with earlier formed the scientific view that the increase in outgrowth is observed more often in the elderly. Instead, the scientists found that the bony growths are observed in a much broader and younger audience. To understand what is the cause of this anomaly, the scientists decided to pay attention to the latest achievements of mankind – the events of the last 10-20 years, which could affect the posture of young people.

“These nodules requires time to develop. In other words, this means that those who are observed, most likely, had a lot of stress on your cervical-cranial division, starting from a very early age,” explains Shahar.

The voltage level that is required in order to bone tissue has penetrated the tendon has prompted the scientist to the assumption that the reason for this can serve as portable mobile devices, where people usually bend your head forward using the muscles of the back of the skull to prevent his fall on his chest.

“What makes us modern technology? People are more sedentary lifestyle, embraced his neck forward to look at what happens on these small screens. For the distribution of such loads requires adaptive process” — continues to Shahar.

How to fix posture?

The fact that the growth of these formations requires a long period of time, scientists say, could mean that long-term correction of posture will allow you to stop it and to prevent further consequences of this pathology. The researchers add that the solution necessarily lies only in total rejection of such mobile technologies. To do this, there are less radical options.

“We need to develop mechanisms of adaptation, which would reflect the importance of steel technology in our daily lives,” says Shahar.

The scientist insists that people have become more attentive to their posture, what they have to relate to the hygiene of their teeth with the 70-ies, starting daily use of toothbrush and dental floss. To teach the correct body posture is necessary since childhood, adopting this practice in different educational institutions. Anyone who daily for an entire day using technology, should undertake a “recalibration” of its posture in the night, says the researcher.

As motivation he invites all to tilt his head forward and put a hand to the lower back of the skull. If these processes you have, then you will definitely feel it.

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