'Text neck' injuries among Chinese on the rise

Updated 2017-12-01 11:02:56 Global Times

Landing in the hospital for staring at your phone too much may sound like a stretch.

But a Sichuan Province man who underwent surgery for injuries from excessive smartphone use is just one of the many Chinese in recent years suffering from 'text neck,' doctors said.

Wang, 40, said he would usually noodle on his smartphone until the early hours, then head to work at his Chengdu noodle shop the next day - until he began noticing sharp neck pains and numbness in his limbs.

By the time he arrived at hospital Saturday, Wang was paralyzed from the neck down.

"During the day he'd lower head to make noodles, then go home and play with his phone in bed," said He Rui, a doctor at Chengdu's Second People's Hospital. "His neck muscles were constantly strained."

He said tests revealed Wang suffered from 'text neck' - a serious condition caused by the posture most of us use to stare at our phones.

Over long periods, this position can cause excessive stress on the cervical spine and surrounding muscles that can lead to permanent damage.

Wang was already feeling relief from the surgery on Wednesday and was in hospital waiting to undergo a second round.

"I never expected this would happen," Wang told the reporter Wednesday from his hospital bed. "I'd be tired from work, so I'd unwind by lying in bed with my cellphone until around 3 am. I had been doing that for months," Wang said.

An increased number of Chinese are suffering from cervical spine issues, said Qin Hui, a doctor at the Chengdu Second People's Hospital.

"Your neck muscles are strained when you lower your head to use a smartphone or tablet for too long," said Qin, who suggests taking regular breaks during smartphone use.

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