Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/08/17/mobile_phones_are_a_real/

Mobile phones are a real pain in the neck

The technical term is spondylitis

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Business, 17th August 1999 17:27 GMT

The horror stories: A woman blocked her neck arteries after a half hour phone conversation while doing the ironing, and a man lost the use of his arm for a month after holding the phone in the crook of his neck, damaging a nerve. Holding your telephone the wrong way can kill you. Well, not quite, but physiotherapists are saying that cradling a phone receiver between your shoulder and your ear can lead to a form of repetetive strain injury. This new phenomenon, dubbed telephonitis, is the newest in a long line of so-called "occupational diseases", for which there seems to be a current vogue. Both mobile phone users and landline users are at risk, according to researchers at Surrey University, but the really dangerous specimens are new slimline phones. A report by occupational therapist Elizabeth Simpson warns that constantly hunching ones shoulder to hold a telephone can damage delicate bones in the spine and upper shoulder, and the further one hunches - as with a slimmer phone -- the worse the damage. Simpson says it is a common problem. "We found that half of all office workers in the city who use a phone and a computer simultaneously suffer from neck pain. Old style phones were quite bulky, but the slimline models meant you had to hold your shoulder up even higher." According to Jill Belch, professor of Rheumatology at Dundee University, the condition is known as: "mobile phone spondylitis, which can cause pain in the neck, head and shoulders." It sounds like another argument for hands-free set to us. Alternatively, we could all go and live in caves. ® Mobile phones are a pain in the neck -- and links to five phone brain maim stories