Scientists: Frequent use of smartphones leads to an increase in horns. Literally

Mobile technology dramaticallychanged our way of life - the way we read, work, communicate, shop and meet. But this is a well-known thing. However, there is something else that many of us cannot yet realize - these tiny machines can not only change our behavior, but also our bodies, which we use to use these gadgets. New studies in the field of biomechanics indicate that modern young people have a tendency to increase horn-like spines - bone growths on the back of the skull, caused by frequent head tilts forward, which transfers its weight from the spine to the muscles of the back of the head. This, scientists say, leads to bone growth in the tendons and ligaments.

The researchers note that weight transfer,causing growth, can be compared with the appearance of calluses on our skin - in response to pressure and abrasion, skin tightening occurs. Only in this case, people have a small bone bulge or horn directly above the neck.

Why is correct posture important?

At once in several scientific works a group of scientistsfrom the Australian University of Sunshine Coast, states that the observations of bone growth in adolescents are associated with changes in posture caused by the use of modern technology. Scientists say that smartphones and other mobile devices make the human appearance literally warp, requiring us to tilt our heads forward in order to see what is happening on the screen of a small gadget. According to the researchers, their observations are the first documentary evidence of how our body triggers physiological or skeletal adaptation in response to the penetration of modern technologies into our daily lives.

Health professionals have previouslynoted the emergence of the so-called “text neck” syndrome (a person constantly keeps his neck in an oblique pose due to frequent use of a mobile device) or tunnel thumb syndrome, which researchers associate with frequent gatherings in video games and using the digital keyboard of smartphones, but up to this point the researchers I have never tried to draw parallels between the use of mobile devices and deep bone changes in our body.

"The most important issue of our research isin what kind of future awaits the adult young generation, if the development of such degenerative processes is already observed at such an early stage of their life? ”

The results of this study saw light back inlast year, however, passed somehow unnoticed. A new wave of interest in them appeared only after the recent publication by the BBC of the story of how modern technology can change our skeleton. The article attracted the attention of the Australian media, spawning between them even a kind of competition for the best description of these growths: "horns", "smartphone bones", "thorns", "strange protrusions", were full of titles of publications.

According to David Shahar, the lead author of this study, chiropractic, who recently defended his doctoral thesis on biomechanics at Sunshine Coast University, any of these definitions is appropriate.

"It all depends on your imagination. Some of these things may resemble a bird's beak, others - a horn, the third - a hook. Any definition fits, ”he said in a conversation with The Washington Post.

But be that as it may, Shahar notes, this naros is a sign of a serious deformation of the posture that can cause chronic headaches, vertebral and neck pains.

One of the most amazing facts about this.the study is the size of these growths, says Shahar. On average, it is considered quite large if we are talking about a length of 3-5 millimeters, but only cases when scientists were talking about growths at least 10 millimeters in size were selected by scientists.

The danger is not in the cornea itself.growths, says Mark Sayers, an associate professor at the Department of Biomechanics at Australian Sunshine Coast University, who supervised Shahar in this study and his second co-author. This growth is, rather, “a signal that something is wrong in the body, that the back and neck are not in the correct position,” the researcher notes.

The work of scientists began about three years ago withx-ray series of thoracic patients in Australian hospitals in Queensland. These images partially covered part of the human skull, including the external occipital tubercle, to which certain cervical ligaments and muscles are attached and where bone growths are actually formed, called enzophytes.

Contrary to the conventional notion of bonecorneous outgrowths, which as a rule are observed rarely and mostly only in older people after many years of physical exertion, Shahar found that these formations were very often found on X-rays of young patients, including those who did not have any obvious symptoms associated with the presence of these "horns".

The first results of observations of the Australian groupScientists published a journal of science publication Anatomy in 2016. In particular, they reported on the analysis of 218 X-rays of people aged 18 to 30 years. It turned out that 41% (which is much higher than the global statistics) of these young people experienced these formations. Scientists then also noted that this feature is more common in men.

According to Sayers, the problem is called“An increase in the external part of the occiput hillock” was previously encountered so rarely that some of its first observers at the end of the 19th century argued that, in fact, there was no increase. Well, the modern world dictates completely different rules and draws a completely different picture.

Another work of scientists was published by the magazineClinical Biomechanics in the spring of 2018. In particular, she dealt with the case of four teenagers. The authors of the study found that growths are not some kind of genetic factor or the result of some kind of disease, but rather are the result of mechanical stress on the muscles of the cervical-cranial part.

Modern technologies and the consequences of their use

In an article in Scientific Reports,published a month earlier before the above work, scientists reported an increase in the sample of patients and a study of 1,200 X-rays of patients from Queensland aged 18 to 86 years. Scientists have discovered an increase in bone processes, which was observed in 33 percent of the population and, as it turned out, their incidence decreased with age.

It turned out that this discovery contrasts sharply witha previously formed scientific view that growth of shoots is more common in older people. Instead, scientists have discovered that bone growths are observed in a much wider and younger audience. To understand what exactly is the cause of such an anomaly, the scientists decided to pay attention to the latest achievements of mankind - the events of the last 10-20 years that could affect the posture of young people.

“These growths take time to grow. In other words, this means that those with whom they are observed are likely to have increased stress on the area of ​​their cervical-cranial part from a very early age, ”explains Shahar.

The level of voltage required forIn order for the bone tissue to penetrate the tendon, it prompted the scientist to suggest that portable mobile devices, which people usually tilt their head forward using the muscles of the back of the skull, which prevent it from falling onto the chest, can cause this.

“What do modern technologies do with us?” People lead a more sedentary lifestyle, sticking their necks forward to see what happens on these small screens. To distribute such a load, an adaptive process is required, ”continues Shahar.

How to fix the problem of posture?

That the growth of these formations requiresa long time, scientists say, may mean that a long posture correction will stop it, as well as prevent further consequences of this pathology. Researchers add that the solution to the problem does not necessarily lie only in the complete abandonment of such mobile technologies. For this there are less radical options.

“We need to develop adaptation mechanisms that reflect how important technology has become in our daily life,” says Shahar.

The scientist insists that people become morepay attention to their posture, than they began to treat the hygiene of their teeth from the 70s, starting daily to use a toothbrush and dental floss. It is necessary to learn correct posture from the very childhood, having adopted this practice by various educational institutions. Anyone who uses technology daily throughout the work day should “recalibrate” his posture at night, the researcher says.

As a motivation, he suggests that everyone tilt their heads forward and put a hand to the lower back of the skull. If you have these processes, you will definitely feel them.

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