You probably have heard the catchy headlines: horns are growing on our necks because of our phones. This article aims to explain the study, the controversies, and lessons to learn from this recent internet and health buzz.
In a paper published in 2018, biomechanics researchers discovered that men and young adults were more likely to develop bone growths on the back of their skulls.
Researchers from Australia, Shahar and Seyers, saw a correlation between forward head protraction and bone growth on the base of the skull or enlarged external occipital protuberance (EEOP). What worried them is that “degenerative skeletal features in humans are associated typically with aging” but they find that young adults had a more enlarged bone growth than adults. So why are younger people more susceptible to this?
“The development of EEOP may be attributed to, and explained by, the extensive use of screen-based activities by individuals of all ages, including children, and the associated poor posture.”Shahar and Meyer
The study did not test for a causation between screen time and EEOP. Meaning, they did not measure the test subjects’ screen-time. In fact Dr. Sayer says that “the bump is not the problem, the bump is a sign of sustained terrible posture, which can be corrected quite simply.”
Criticisms of the findings stem from two main points of view: money and research methods.
Research Methods: Participants of the studies were the researcher’s patients, so this was not a randomly sampled pool of subjects. Scientist and journalists alike are critical of the statistical analysis and results presented.
Dr. Shahar sells products online to improve posture.
The internet is riddle with noise and knowledge about our health. Competing ideas doesn’t mean we throw up our hands in frustration. One thing the study highlighted is the importance of good posture.
There are health problems associated with bad posture, from headaches, decrease lung capacity, back pain, bad mood. Yoga promotes good posture by finding proper alignment in your body and trains you to know when your body is misaligned.
Carrying your yoga practice to everyday life means finding that alignment even when we are doing our daily tasks. This means using the core muscles, and knowing when to take a break.
It’s easy to vilify technology, but how we use our gadgets is in our control.