Strange as it may sound, young adults today are growing horns on their skulls and smartphone use may be the cause. A chiropractor named David Shahar first noticed the horns on the x-ray results of many of his young patients. They were located at the base of the patients’ skulls. These bulges were not unknown to Shahar, who had seen them many times in his practice. What struck him as odd, however, was his patients' young ages.
Protrusions such as these normally grow only on much older people, who have put pressure on their spines over a matter of decades. Previously, it was extremely rare to see something like this on a young adult. But Shahar and his partner Mark Sayers found that 41 percent of patients between the ages of 18 and 30 displayed the horns.
Shahar and Sayers hypothesize that smartphone use led to accelerated development of bulges at the base of young adults’ skulls. Because people today spend so much time looking down at their screens, they put much more frequent pressure on their spines. This could account for the sudden appearance of horns on almost half of the young adults in Shahar’s practice.
For now, the claim that smartphone use causes horns on the skull remains a hypothesis. However, it is quite a compelling one. The research is clear that while this was once something unheard of in young people and more common in older people, that is no longer the case. Now, bulges on the base of the skull are much more prevalent in those in their 20’s than those in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Considering that smartphones have been widely used for about ten years, this data adds to evidence supporting Sharar and Sayer’s position. If the next generation follows suit, they have a pretty solid claim.
Are the horns harmful or painful? It is not so much the horns themselves, which are normally under a centimeter in length. Rather, they act as a symptom of other issues. The body grows the protrusions to help accommodate for pressure on the spine caused by poor posture. That in itself is harmful and leads to problems such as headaches and muscle pain.
The best thing to do to avoid problems related to “tech neck” is get off your phone. Most people don’t realize how much time they spend on handheld devices. You can also do counter stretches that help you fight the effects of hunching over. This is one instance where you don’t want to be a unicorn!
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