Mankind has long evolved from our primal roots and progressed into the smart and savvy nations of today, but are we moving back in time?
A group of four undergraduates from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are initiating the first campaign in Singapore to raise awareness on ‘Text Neck’, a new condition that many young adults here are falling prey to.
‘Text Neck’ Syndrome is a repetitive strain injury caused by a prolonged forward head posture when users engage in their mobile devices. It is an increasingly common sight in our plugged-in nation due to the pervasiveness of technology in Singapore. This new health phenomenon is currently not well-known among Singaporeans, but this group of NTU undergraduates are shedding light on ‘Text Neck’ and its detrimental health effects with their campaign, ‘Stand Corrected’.
Many are unaware that with a 30-degree forward head tilt, a person is applying over 18 kg of stress on his spine. This causes wear and tear and may lead to spinal complications developing over time. As there is little to no immediate detection of damaged muscles or joints, serious health issues could go unnoticed.
“Poor posture caused by the constant forward head posture while using mobile devices may lead to neck strains and degenerative changes to the cervical spine,” said Mr. Jeff Lim, Senior Physiotherapist at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
According to a survey conducted by the NTU undergraduates, 87% of young adults spend three or more hours a day on their mobile devices, and about 60% of people surveyed experience neck and back pains after usage. In addition, there is currently a very low level of awareness and knowledge on ‘Text Neck’ Syndrome and its detrimental effects, with only 11% of respondents knowing what the syndrome actually is.
Dr. Terrence Yap, Vice-President of The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) also noted that not only has there been an increase in posture problems due to the use of mobile devices, but chronic neck-and-back symptoms that people used to experience at aged 60 and above are now starting to affect people as early as 30 to 40 years old.
Dannie Seet, 26, one of the students leading the ‘Stand Corrected’ campaign, said “I am personally a victim of ‘Text Neck’ and many of my friends are too. It is worrying that many Singaporeans are unaware of the damage they are doing to their spines. Our team hopes that more Singaporeans will be mindful of their postures and learn to care for their spinal health”.
“Hopefully, initiatives such as ‘Stand Corrected’ will particularly appeal to teenagers and young adults so that they can adopt good posture habits now to prevent health problems later in life after decades of hand-held device use,” said Mr. Lim.
The campaign is proudly sponsored by Ergoworks, National Youth Council (NYC), Central Singapore Development Council (CDC) and is supported by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) for their medical expertise.
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