Your cell phone and your health

Doctors To YouDWC feature, Wellness

Cell phones are everywhere. You cannot go anywhere without seeing someone, from a grandparent to a child, checking out their phone. It is amazing how quickly cell phones have become a part of our culture.

When it comes to concierge medicine, cellular technology, namely the cell phone, is an integral aspect of our business. It’s how you reach us for a house call, and it may even play a big role in how we diagnose your ailment, as some our instruments used on-the-go during concierge trips rely on the phone to work. We even have to use the cell phone to navigate our way to your house during the call!

House calls and cell phones have become proverbial peas in a pod. But even though this concierge tool has become so popular, there could be some health downsides.




Cell phones are everywhere. You cannot go anywhere without seeing someone, from a grandparent to a child, checking out their phone. It is amazing how quickly cell phones have become a part of our culture.

When it comes to concierge medicine, cellular technology, namely the cell phone, is an integral aspect of our business. It’s how you reach us for a house call, and it may even play a big role in how we diagnose your ailment, as some our instruments used on-the-go during concierge trips rely on the phone to work. We even have to use the cell phone to navigate our way to your house during the call! 

House calls and cell phones have become proverbial peas in a pod. But even though this concierge tool has become so popular, there could be some health downsides.




How Your Cell Phone is Affecting You (Both the Good and Bad)

The first smart phone didn’t come into existence until 2007. And while that is amazing for our growth in technology, it hasn’t given scientists much time to research how cell phones affect us in the long term. We love and use our cell phones and rely on them for everything. “We use our phones for so much more than calls: dating, job-hunting, reading books, and watching movies.” 

But is this really a good thing? Let’s take a closer look at how cell phone use is affecting you - both positively and negatively.

Distractions?

Cell phones can provide a distraction at any time of the day. This is great for when you are stuck in traffic, waiting at a doctor’s office, or traveling. It can also be a lifesaver for parents who need a small toy to distract a cranky child during important situations. It’s also a great way to consume entertainment without bothering others.

However, these same distractions can cause a huge impact on your productivity. Cell phones buzz and beep all day and can interrupt your workflow, negatively impacting your ability to produce work. Even if you ignore the ding from your phone, just hearing it can interrupt your concentration enough that you lose track of the task you were engaged in.

Psychology Today says, "Many users also check them constantly, sometimes even compulsively—even when there is no indication they received a message or email.  How frequently do people check their smartphones?  [Duke] cites research that indicates people look around every 18 minutes, within the first five minutes after waking up, and within the last five minutes before going to sleep." 


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Signs of decline in mental health

Cell phones also play a huge role in how we communicate. More and more, people rely on text messages, instant messaging, and social media to communicate with others. As a result, face-to-face conversations are less likely to happen. Even the original purpose of a phone – to have a conversation with someone far away – is being lost!

While being able to instantly send messages without engaging in social interactions is nice, it has led to a loss in spontaneous conversations between people in real life. These conversations are key to increasing empathy and making connections. Cell phones can also cause distractions while you are talking to someone in real life. Who hasn’t been distracted by their cell phone while out to coffee or at dinner with friends? It puts a stop to the conversation and can disrupt the flow of relationships.

Physical Effects like Bone Spurs

Recently, a study by a pair of researchers from Australia published a paper that found bone spurs were forming in the back of the skull of young people who use cell phones frequently. These spurs are thought to be caused by the forward tilt of the head while looking at cell phones. With the head constantly tilted forward, the weight shifts from the spine to the muscles in the back of the head, causing the bones to grow in the connecting tissues.  

While the evidence is compelling, it is important to note that one of the researchers has a chiropractic practice and sells posture-enhancing items like pillows. They did not disclose this conflict of interest before publishing the paper. Critics also claim that not enough research was done about the cell phone use of the young people whose skulls appeared to be deformed.


How Your Cell Phone is Affecting You (Both the Good and Bad)

The first smart phone didn’t come into existence until 2007. And while that is amazing for our growth in technology, it hasn’t given scientists much time to research how cell phones affect us in the long term. We love and use our cell phones and rely on them for everything. “We use our phones for so much more than calls: dating, job-hunting, reading books, and watching movies.” 

But is this really a good thing? Let’s take a closer look at how cell phone use is affecting you - both positively and negatively.

Distractions?

Cell phones can provide a distraction at any time of the day. This is great for when you are stuck in traffic, waiting at a doctor’s office, or traveling. It can also be a lifesaver for parents who need a small toy to distract a cranky child during important situations. It’s also a great way to consume entertainment without bothering others.

However, these same distractions can cause a huge impact on your productivity. Cell phones buzz and beep all day and can interrupt your workflow, negatively impacting your ability to produce work. Even if you ignore the ding from your phone, just hearing it can interrupt your concentration enough that you lose track of the task you were engaged in.

Psychology Today says, "Many users also check them constantly, sometimes even compulsively—even when there is no indication they received a message or email.  How frequently do people check their smartphones?  [Duke] cites research that indicates people look around every 18 minutes, within the first five minutes after waking up, and within the last five minutes before going to sleep." 


Image

Signs of decline in mental health

Cell phones also play a huge role in how we communicate. More and more, people rely on text messages, instant messaging, and social media to communicate with others. As a result, face-to-face conversations are less likely to happen. Even the original purpose of a phone – to have a conversation with someone far away – is being lost!

While being able to instantly send messages without engaging in social interactions is nice, it has led to a loss in spontaneous conversations between people in real life. These conversations are key to increasing empathy and making connections. Cell phones can also cause distractions while you are talking to someone in real life. Who hasn’t been distracted by their cell phone while out to coffee or at dinner with friends? It puts a stop to the conversation and can disrupt the flow of relationships.

Physical Effects like Bone Spurs

Recently, a study by a pair of researchers from Australia published a paper that found bone spurs were forming in the back of the skull of young people who use cell phones frequently. These spurs are thought to be caused by the forward tilt of the head while looking at cell phones. With the head constantly tilted forward, the weight shifts from the spine to the muscles in the back of the head, causing the bones to grow in the connecting tissues.  

While the evidence is compelling, it is important to note that one of the researchers has a chiropractic practice and sells posture-enhancing items like pillows. They did not disclose this conflict of interest before publishing the paper. Critics also claim that not enough research was done about the cell phone use of the young people whose skulls appeared to be deformed.


However, the researchers are standing by their research. The fact remains that bone spurs are appearing in young people’s heads and they are probably due to poor posture. More research needs to be done, but these early findings should be considered when using your cell phone.



However, the researchers are standing by their research. The fact remains that bone spurs are appearing in young people’s heads and they are probably due to poor posture. More research needs to be done, but these early findings should be considered when using your cell phone.

Taking the time to put your cell phone away and focus on the world and people around you are great ways to reconnect with society and feel happy and balanced.




Cell phones are a wonderful part of modern technology but should be used with care. Constantly being connected can have a negative impact on your concentration, social interactions, and even your body.

Taking the time to put your cell phone away and focus on the world and people around you are great ways to reconnect with society and feel happy and balanced.