In the last couple of months I’ve realized that cellphone injuries are on the rise just as two friends told me about people they knew hurting themselves while texting and walking. One friend of a friend nearly split her head open as she tripped on a sidewalk, fell and hit her head and suffered a massive concussion. The second one walked straight into a light pole and ended up with a huge bruise on her forehead. Needless to say, both of them were apparently not paying attention to their surroundings because they were on their phones.

A recent study published in the JAMA Otolaryngology journal suggests cell phone injuries are on the rise associated with the head and neck as there have been a spike of emergency room visits related to these. The study analyzed 20 years of emergency room data, and found an increase of cell phone injuries since 2006, around the time smartphones became available.

As cellphones are a part of most of our daily lives, they also pose a hazard as many not only text and walk, but text and drive. Where I live, it’s a $300 ticket to text and drive, yet I see countless people doing it, probably the most disturbing incident was when a lady crossed the center line and nearly hit me head-on while she was on her phone, I was lucky it was a wide street and I was able to swerve out of her way. Then there are all the times people have drifted into my lane because they are looking at their phones instead of the road. The same has happened to me multiple times on the sidewalks with people bumping into me because they are too engaged with their phones. I’ve been on crutches with an injured knee, just today, a guy on his phone tripped right over my crutch and almost took me down with him. Thankfully I caught myself with the crutch and didn’t fall to re injure my knee again.

These people that are attached to their cellphones not only pose a threat to others, but to themselves with “text neck,” a term I learned from my chiropractor. Text neck can give you upper back pain ranging from sharp pains to severe muscle spasms. It can also cause shoulder pain and tightness, and pinch a cervical nerve, which can possibly cause pain to radiate down your arm/hand. The best way to thwart this is to hold your phone at eye level so you are not looking down at it.

The JAMA study also mentioned that some injuries were caused by phones that were thrown, and people suffering lacerations, contusions and even internal organ injuries. The most reported injuries on the rise with this study were the head and neck, including the face, eye area, nose and neck. The majority of these injuries are in patients ages 13-29. The bottom line is people need to pay attention, and their lack of situational awareness can not only hurt themselves but other people too.