A new research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skull caused by the forward tilt of the head shifting weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head due to excessive use of technology. This causes bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments, as per international news reports. The weight transfer causes a buildup resulting in a hook or hornlike feature is jutting out from the skull, just above the neck.
A pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, argued in their academic papers that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. According to the research smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what's happening on the small screens.
The paper's first author, David Shahar, a chiropractor by profession, has said that the formation is a sign of a serious deformity in posture that can cause chronic headaches and pain in the upper back and neck.
As motivation, he suggested reaching a hand around to the lower rear of the skull. Those who have the hornlike feature likely can feel it.
Part of what was striking about their findings, he said, was the size of the bone spurs, which are thought to be large if they measure 3 or 5 millimetres in length. An outgrowth was factored in to their research only if it measured 10 millimeters or about two-fifths of an inch.
Associate professor of biomechanics at Sunshine Coast , Mark Sayers said to a media publication, "The danger is not the head horn itself, rather the formation is a portent of something nasty going on elsewhere, a sign that the head and neck are not in the proper configuration."
The researchers have found instead that bone spurs were larger and more common among young people than old people, which was the common assumption.
"These formations take a long time to develop, so that means that those individuals who suffer from them probably have been stressing that area since early childhood," Shahar explained adding that improvement in posture can stop the bone growth and even ward off its associated effects.
The answer is not necessarily swearing off technology, Sayers said. At least, there are less drastic interventions.
"What we need are coping mechanisms that reflect how important technology has become in our lives," he said adiing " Everyone who uses technology during the day should get used to recalibrating their posture at night."