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High-Tech Gadgets a Pain in the Neck, Triggers Early Wrinkles

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Overusing mobiles and tablets can cause a "tech neck" that leads to early signs of ageing, health experts have warned.

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A certain form of neck pain now has a 21st century diagnosis: "tech neck," or "text neck" is becoming epidemic. These terms are used to describe the aftermath of using electronic gadgets too much, with one's shoulders hunched forward and neck straining at an uncomfortable angle.

Besides headaches, neck, back, arm and shoulder pain, "tech neck" leads to sagging skin, dropping jowls, and creases above the clavicle that seriously affect how the face looks by causing frown lines, bags under one's eyes, and horizontal lines on the neck, along with fat prominences, according to the experts.

"People who bend down constantly for long hours while using any handheld electronic device, like smartphones, tablet or laptops, are more likely to get wrinkles. The bending position while texting on mobile phones can also cause neck, back and shoulder pain, apart from headache, numbness, tingling in the upper limb and pain in the hands, arm, elbows and wrists," said Dr. Vinod Vij, Senior Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai, India.

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The frequent use of smartphones causes a shortening of the neck muscles and change in the posture, said Dr. Mohan Thomas, Chief Surgeon and Medical Director at the Mumbai Cosmetic Surgery Institute.

"It also increases the gravitational pull on the skin. Ultimately, this results in sagging skin, a double chin, marionette lines (vertical lines from lips to chin) and loose jowls (drooping jawline). All these signs have been collectively labelled medically as "smartphone face," he added.

"As people do not realize the negativity they are causing to their neck bone and the skin, tech obsessed people should take the necessary steps to avoid the overuse of the electronic gadgets," Dr. Thomas noted.

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