A 29-year-old man from Guangzhou, China experienced sudden paralysis of all four limbs after spending two consecutive days playing on his mobile phone. The man reportedly spent a lot of his time looking down at his handheld, but this latest gaming marathon was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Late last month, the yet unidentified gamer spent two consecutive days trying to advance as much as possible in the mobile video game he was so passionate about. In the early hours of the third day, he felt a sudden pain and stiffness in his neck. Within moments all four of his limbs went numb, and he found himself paralyzed. His family rushed him to the emergency department of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, where, after an MRI and other tests, Shen Huiyong, the orthopedic specialist, diagnosed him with cervical spondylosis hematoma. That meant that his paralysis was caused by blood clots in his cervical spinal tube pressing against his spinal cord.
The condition had apparently been developing for some time, but it was the two-night marathon which caused it to advance at an accelerated pace. The young man had to undergo an immediate and delicate surgery to remove the blood clots and allow him to regain feeling in his limbs. After spending some time in intensive care, the man regained his fine motor skills and ability to walk but will need multiple sessions of physiotherapy to be one hundred percent recoverd.
Dr. Huiyong warned the man that if he continued to strain his neck the same way, the hematoma would undoubtedly return.
Huiyong told Chinese news outlet Sina that long-term use of mobile phones leads to users developing a permanent bowing position. This position is contrary to the natural curvature of the spine and can accelerate cervical degeneration leading to nerve compression, which causes pain in the neck and numbness. In extreme cases, such as that of his young patient, it can lead to more severe complications like limb paralysis.
Other complications that can arise from frequent mobile phone use are cervical lesions, intracerebral hemorrhage, and eye injuries such as visual fatigue and glaucoma. Overuse can also lead to insomnia. Experts advise looking away from your phone every 15 to 30 minutes, always having another source of light on in the room, and holding your phone in such a way that you aren’t constantly looking down at it. Above all, it is vital to limit usage to daylight hours to give your eyes and your mind a rest.
Video games have been causing a variety of serious health problems in China, where games like King of Glory are insanely popular. Not too long ago, we wrote about a woman who played on her phone until she went blind in one eye, and last month we posted about a young man who died of exhaustion after several months of sleep deprivation. The Chinese Government has actually limited access to such games to prevent young people from becoming addicted.