Smartphone Use Causes Neck, Head Injuries To Rise – Medical Daily
The rise of smartphones comes with the growing number of people with head and neck injuries in the U.S. A new study shows that the devices have been sending more people to the emergency room over the past two decades due to injuries like facial cuts, bruises and fractures.
People are now sticking their nose to mobile screens more often. This increases the risk of tripping, falling and hurting their heads and necks.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology, used a database from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to analyze emergency room visits in nearly 100 hospitals across the country. Researchers recorded 2,500 patients with cellphone-related head or neck injuries from 1998 through 2017.
The team from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark said that injuries linked to use of mobile phones significantly increased after 2006. That is when the first smartphones were introduced, Boston 25 News reported.
Some reported injuries were caused by phones themselves, such as people getting hit by a thrown phone. But a majority of cases were caused by distracted use, including texting while walking, tripping and landing face-down on the sidewalk.
Boris Paskhover, a reconstructive surgeon and lead study author from Rutgers, said he launched the study after treating more patients with phone-related injuries. He noted that most of the cases were minor injuries but the growing issue should be taken seriously.
“I don’t think people are aware of how fragile we are as humans. We’re resilient, but we’re also fragile. You fall and you can get a pretty bad injury,” Paskhover told NBC News. “You walk in the city and you see everyone just looking at their phones. Be aware that you can hurt yourself.”
The researchers estimated that the number of all people injured by or because of phones could reach nearly 76,000 across the country. From 1998, annual cases totaled less than 2,000. But when the industry started selling smartphones after 2006, the figure significantly increased.
Nearly 40 percent of people with smartphone injuries were at ages 13 to 29. Many patients reported being hurt while walking, texting or driving.
Some injuries even led to serious health problems and required surgeries, such as traumatic brain injuries. Paskhover said the study highlights the importance of reducing screen time when walking or doing other activities.
“Don’t be distracted — period,” he said. “Be self-aware. Answer a text message, fine, but you shouldn’t be walking around reading articles on your phone.”