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No link between “text neck” posture and neck pain in 150 Brazilian young adults

PainSci » bibliography » Damasceno et al 2018
Tags: etiology, neck, fun, pro, head/neck, spine

Two articles on PainSci cite Damasceno 2018: 1. Does Posture Matter?2. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks

PainSci commentary on Damasceno 2018: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This study of 150 young adults in Brazil found no link between neck pain and poor posture while texting, so-called “text neck.” They were surveyed on a number of factors, including potential curve balls like visual impairments, and observed by physical therapists. Regardless of their posture — whether they had any concern about it themselves, or based on the more objective assessment — there simply was no observable connection between neck pain and the way they were looking at their phones. If there’s any link, it’s subtle and probably only emerges in the long-term.

The possibility of a link emerging over many years of text-neck posture has yet to be investigated — handheld computers haven’t been around long enough for that — but these results do suggest that any long term link is probably minor, or there would be at least some detectable short-term warning signs.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is an association between text neck and neck pain in young adults.

METHODS: Observational cross-sectional study with 150 18-21-year-old young adults from a public high school in the state of Rio de Janeiro was performed. In the self-report questionnaire, the participants answered questions on sociodemographic factors, anthropometric factors, time spent texting or playing on a mobile phone, visual impairments, and concern with the body posture. The neck posture was assessed by participants’ self-perception and physiotherapists’ judgment during a mobile phone texting message task. The Young Spine Questionnaire was used to evaluate the neck pain. Four multivariate logistic regression models were fitted to investigate the association between neck posture during mobile phone texting and neck pain, considering potential confounding factors.

RESULTS: There is no association between neck posture, assessed by self-perception, and neck pain (OR = 1.66, p = 0.29), nor between neck posture, assessed by physiotherapists’ judgment, and neck pain (OR = 1.23, p = 0.61). There was also no association between neck posture, assessed by self-perception, and frequency of neck pain (OR = 2.19, p = 0.09), nor between neck posture, assessed by physiotherapists’ judgment, and frequency of neck pain (OR = 1.17, p = 0.68).

CONCLUSION: This study did not show an association between text neck and neck pain in 18-21-year-old young adults. The findings challenge the belief that neck posture during mobile phone texting is associated to the growing prevalence of neck pain.

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