'Tech neck,' burns among the problems caused by digital gadgets

ByRob Nelson WABC logo
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Neck burns among problems with digital gadgets
Rob Nelson has the story.

NEW YORK -- Take a look around these days - and it's easy to see it's a digital world.

But being glued to our gadgets comes with a price: sleep deprivation, poor posture, migraines, nausea, vertigo, even tendinitis in our texting thumb.

All of these have been linked to the use -- or overuse -- of our beloved electronic devices.

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And there are cosmetic effects as well. Dermolotgist Dendy Engelman calls it "tech neck," the wrinkling and loosening of our thin neck skin that comes from looking down at our gadgets over and over again.

One east fix, she said, is to move the gadget so your head tilt is at 45 percent.

There are more complex solutions, too. A doctor can use anything from injections to lasers to creams to electrical currents to help tackle tech neck, and patients said it has made a difference.

"And now it's very strange, because I walk around New York and I look at everybody's necks, and think that they need it," said Marna Wringel, a patient.

Cell phones aren't the only hazard. Engelman has seen cases of leg burns, thanks to overuse of laptops. "It can ulcerate," she said.

The key is balance, said psychiatrist Jeffrey Borenstein. Ensure there are times, like during meals and before bed, when we put our gadgets down, he said.

Borenstein, of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, said everyone should consider "how to step back from that level of connection that gets in the way of other types of connection."

But perhaps that's easier said than done.