The messages sound alarming: "Smartphones allow people to create horns," he says in a blog post. Another news site reports: "Watching cell phones makes Neckhorn grow." We are talking about "visible changes in the head" that are "attributable" to the use of the cell phone. What is up with that?
The reports refer to a study that appeared in February 2018 in the journal "Scientific Reports". The authors are David Shahar, a chiropractor, and Mark G.L. Sayers, professor of biomechanics. Both work at the University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
The double scientist had evaluated more than a thousand X-ray images of people between the ages of 18 and 86 and discovered surprising things: in the images, usually a bony promontory at the back of the head – at the point where the skull passes to the neck. A "swelling" at this point is normal and occurs especially in older people who have been exposed to heavy physical stress for years.
But scientists were surprised at how often they found this bone gain in the younger age group of 18 to 30 years and present an interesting thesis: The crooked stance when using smartphones and tablets can cause so much strain on the muscles and tendons of the skull that the body forms a bone elevation at an early age.
World attention after the report "BBC"
The "BBC" took the study about a week ago in a report and brought the scientist's attention around the world. Especially the Australian media reported on the collision in the back of the head and imaginatively called them "Head Horns" or "Phone Bones".
Interestingly, the results are good, but there is also justification for the investigation: Thus, all study participants, due to neck problems, visited a chiropractic clinic and made X-ray images. Whether and how the results are transferable to the total population remains uncertain. In addition, based on the study structure, no statement on cause and effect can be made. How and why the formed jolts can not be proved.
Dr. Evan Johnson explains in a conversation with the New York Times that these buttons can form theoretically when people lean their heads forward for a long time. In this position, a band that helps to hold the head pushes the skull bone. "The bone fits into a small hill or cusp," says Johnson. In his opinion, however, the increase is not a cause for concern: "The fact that you have this small bony prominence in your skull means nothing."
However, a neck flexion posture can lead to other health problems – such as tight muscles and headaches.
Neck Horn? "Far"
Surgeons who work hard with their neck flexed to work are known to develop problems with intervertebral discs later, neurosurgeon David Langer explains in an interview with The New York Times. He believes that a long-term posture is more likely to be associated with neck discomfort – still less with a bony horn.
"I did not see that much horn and did a lot of x-rays," he told the paper. "I hate being pessimistic, but the whole thing seems a little overdone for me."
sources: Scientific reports / New York Times