Teenage texting habit can cause lifetime health problems

One-third of American teens send 100 texts every day

By Bridgett Ellison - Anchor, Allison McGinley - News Director

ORLANDO, Fla. - Seventy-five percent of American teens have a cellphone, but most of them aren't talking, they're texting.  In fact, one-third of teens with cellphones send 100 text messages every day.

Parents usually worry about who their teens are texting.  But, doctors say, parent should have a bigger concern.  Because a child's head is larger in relation to their body, all that time spent hunched over a phone could do serious damage to a teen's neck and back.

"It's that they're looking down, and by looking down, that's putting added stress on the neck," explained chiropractor Dr. Terry Smedstad. 

Smedstad has been in practice for 30 years and says he has never seen kids with such serious neck and back problems.

"Kids are coming in with headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain.  They're coming in with radiating numbness and pain in their arms. It's even leading to lower back problems," said Smedstad.

And abnormal curvature of the neck is a concern because doctors say it can lead to arthritis and narrowed canals for the nerves.

Smedstad says there are a few things that parents can do to protect their teens from texting injuries, including teaching kids how to hold their phone correctly while texting.  They should hold it up to a level to where the head and chin are straight ahead and not down.

Children can also do a variation of chiropractic traction at home by simply allowing their head to hang off the edge of the bed.  The head should be off the bed for two to three minutes and work up to 10 minutes.

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