Tech by VICE

‘Text Neck’ Is a Real Thing and It's Coming to Fuck You Up

A reward for the generation that spends its time staring into phones.

by VICE Staff
21 November 2014, 4:00pm

TextneckLADS (Photo via ​Duncan)

Researchers at the National Library of Medicine have been working hard. They've been working hard and they have just found out that there is an epidemic in America (and, as follows, in the UK, because we are basically the same just with better chocolate and fewer TV channels) called – and this is possibly the best name for a medical condition since "micropenis" – called "text neck".

Text neck. Text. Neck. It's when you look down at your phone too much – when walking down the street, perhaps, or when sat in front of me at the cinema, or at the pub instead of talking – and the weight of your big dumb head plus the Earth's latent gravity puts unbearable strain on your neck and spine. The condition can cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated discs and, over time, even remove your neck's natural curve. And all because you had to keep an eye on your WhatsApp group while someone went through a bad breakup. All because you were taking a screenshot of a fun interaction you had on Tinder.

"It is an epidemic or, at least, it's very common," said Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, and the study's author. "Just look around you, everyone has their heads down."

Your spine... on ACID! (Photo via Keith ​Hansraj)

Yeah, he sounds a bit like your dad getting angry at young people while watching the TV after a big roast, but the problem is hella real, and gets realer the more you lean forward and squint. Basically, your big dumb head weighs around 12lb, but when you lean your head forward the weight on the cervical spine starts to increase. At 15 degrees your head is doing about 27lb on your neck; at 30 degrees it's 40lb. By the time you're leaning 60 degrees forward just to send someone a dickpic, you've got 60lb – or, "about the weight of an eight-year-old" – hanging like a weird invisible albatross around your neck.

"The problem is really profound in young people," Hanraj adds, by which he means: you. "With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. I would really like to see parents showing more guidance." Plus, it rinses your posture, which experts reckon can lead to reduced lung capacity, as well as headaches and neurological issues.

'Hello, mum? No you forgot to pack me Fruit Shoot. I need you to come back.' (Photo via ​Kevin Dooley)

Anyway, the main thing is that text neck is clearly part of a wave of very modern injuries that are going to cripple young people in what we will look back on as a very hilarious way. What next? Burns off an overheating laptop? Saying "on fleek" so hard you get whiplash? Dick stuck in a Roomba? Whatever future awaits us, just know that we will find dozens of innocuous ways to permanently and irrevocably injure ourselves. Cheers! To the future!


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