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Comment & Response
March 19, 2020

Head and Neck Injuries Associated With Cell Phone Use—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online March 19, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0145

In Reply We thank Drs Bsisu and Bsisu for dedicating their time to comment on our recently published retrospective cross-sectional study.1 Since publishing our article, we have had many informal inquiries regarding the issue of postural effects from cell phone use so we thank the authors for their informative letter. We fully agree that the nature of our study prevented us from assessing the postural effects of cell phone use and the presence of additional long-term neck pain. However, we would like to clarify that our mention of long-term complications was related to the injuries themselves rather than the cell phone use.

We would also like to thank the authors for their assessment that a straight neck and supported forearms during cell phone use may decrease the strain placed on the neck and upper extremities. A similar assessment was made in an interesting study that we came across by Syamala et al.2 The recommendation of this positioning has the additional benefit of encouraging individuals to use their cell phones when seated because this position is most easily attainable in the seated position. This, in turn, can reduce the use of cell phones during other activities which may cause attention diversion and thus result in injury.

In response to the comment on cell phone use duration, we concur that limiting the duration of use may lead to less strain and therefore likely reduce neck strain and associated pain. We would like to add that in addition to the reduction in seeking analgesics, reducing cell phone use duration may decrease sedentary behaviors in individuals and may result in fewer chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.3

The postural effect of cell phone use is yet another component of the health care implications that our growing relationship with cell phones may have on our patients’ lives. These implications may be a focus of health care clinicians for many years to come as we adapt to a world with a growing dependency on mobile devices.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Boris Paskhover, MD, Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, 90 Bergen St, Doctor's Office Center (DOC), Rm 8100, Newark, NJ 07101 (boris.paskhover@njms.rutgers.edu).

Published Online: March 19, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0145

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
Povolotskiy  R, Gupta  N, Leverant  AB, Kandinov  A, Paskhover  B.  Head and neck injuries associated with cell phone use [published online December 5, 2019].  JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.3678PubMedGoogle Scholar
2.
Syamala  KR, Ailneni  RC, Kim  JH, Hwang  J.  Armrests and back support reduced biomechanical loading in the neck and upper extremities during mobile phone use.  Appl Ergon. 2018;73:48-54. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2018.06.003PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Kendzor  DE, Shuval  K, Gabriel  KP,  et al.  Impact of a mobile phone intervention to reduce sedentary behavior in a community sample of adults: a quasi-experimental evaluation.  J Med Internet Res. 2016;18(1):e19. doi:10.2196/jmir.5137PubMedGoogle Scholar
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