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Doctors Call ‘Tech Neck' an Epidemic

There is a growing concern about the use of smart devices that's becoming a chronic pain in the neck.

Dallas chiropractor Dr. Mark Currington said about 50 percent of his patients suffer from "tech neck," which is bad posture caused by typing and texting.

"It's becoming more of an epidemic between the ages of 20 and 40," he said.

Doctors say looking down at devices for long periods of time puts 60 pounds of pressure on the spine, which can lead to long-term pain, costly therapy and even change your appearance.

"It can cause the development of a fat patch on the base of the neck," Currington said. "That's a protective mechanism to protect the spinal cord."

Signs of tech neck include tightness in the back and shoulders, neck pain, headaches and even changes in appearance. Currington said preventing it is easy, though.

"The key is just keeping your head up," he said. "It's something you have to work at everyday to develop new habits."

Currington said people need to get in the habit of holding their phone up, away from their body at eye level and taking frequent breaks from devices.. He also recommended sitting at their computer with backs straight, feet flat on the floor and monitors at eye level.

NBC 5's Katy Blakey contributed to this report.

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