Being male, for instance, increased an individual's chances of having an extended EOP by more than five-fold; this does align with historical findings of more spiny EOPs in males, and could be explained by increased mass of the head and neck, along with increased muscle power. The occipital bone is an unpaired bone which covers the back of the head (occiput). And, while the average forward head protraction recorded in this study was 26 mm, the authors say that is significantly larger than what was recorded in 1996. It is common in males and hence is often used in forensic investigations for gender determination 1. {"url":"/signup-modal-props.json?lang=us\u0026email="}. In a 2016 study in the Journal of Anatomy, Shahar and a colleague looked at the radiographs of 218 young patients, ages 18 to 30, to determine how many had these bumps. The ways in which our bodies compensate for poor posture could put added stress on certain joints and muscles, increasing our chances for injury or musculoskeletal issues in the future. ADVERTISEMENT: Radiopaedia is free thanks to our supporters and advertisers. (2016) Journal of Anatomy. In general, enlarged spikes were more common in males than in females. Enlarged spikes occurred in 33% of the group, but participants ages 18 to 30 years old were significantly more likely to have these spikes than the older generations, they found. Examining 1,200 X-ray images of adult Australians, the researchers found that 41 percent of those between 18 and 30 had developed these bone spurs, which is 8 percent more than the overall average. "Although the "tablet revolution" is fully and effectively entrenched in our daily activities, we must be reminded that these devices are only a decade old and it may be that related symptomatic disorders are only now emerging," the authors conclude. The occipital bone is the trapezoidal-shaped bone found at the lower-back area of the cranium. "I have been a clinician for 20 years, and only in the last decade, increasingly, I have been discovering that my patients have this growth on the skull," David Shahar, a health scientist at the University of The Sunshine Coast, Australia, told the BBC in a fascinating feature about the changing human skeleton. The research has been published in Scientific Reports. Editor's note (19 Sep 2019): The authors have issued an official correction to the paper, withdrawing their bold, yet unsubstantiated claims about hand-held technology being "primarily responsible" for the growths. "small hard round lump on occipital bone feels like bone. BMJ Case Reports. The largest spike belonged to a man, sticking out at 1.4 inches (35.7 mm). The human head is heavy, weighing about 10 lbs. ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewers/no ads, Please Note: You can also scroll through stacks with your mouse wheel or the keyboard arrow keys. It is hard and feels like bone.I also have a small enlarged node... View answer To be clear, these elongated EOPs are not necessarily harmful in their own right, but they could be a symptom of a larger problem. Some were only 10 millimetres long (0.4 inches) and barely noticeable, while others were up to 30 mm in length (1.1 inches), as the scientists described in their 2018 study. The occipital bone houses the back part of the brain and is one of seven bones that come together to form the skull. Soft pillows and analgesia are usually trialled before surgery and may be effective. You will receive a verification email shortly. Usually, such 'degenerative' features in a person's skeleton are symptoms of ageing, but in this case, the enlarged EOP was linked to youth, a person's sex, and the degree of forward head protraction. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, But we do acknowledge these ideas do not exist in a vacuum and are supported by extensive research on how mobile devices can alter our musculoskeletal system. It is an anatomical variant which is usually noticed incidentally radiographically, although it can become symptomatic with affected patients describing a tender bony swelling at the back of the neck causing pain especially while lying down 1. Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. © It is located next to five of the cranium bones. The researchers referred to these growths as a “prominent exostosis ... emanating from the external occipital proturbance.” Or, in layman's terms, a bone spur, located at the base of the skull. The growths are happening at a very particular spot of the skull: right at the lower back part of our heads we have a large plate known as the occipital bone, and towards its middle is a slight bump called the external occipital protuberance (EOP), where some of … "However, we hypothesise that the use of modern technologies and hand-held devices, may be primarily responsible for these postures and subsequent development of adaptive robust cranial features in our sample.". Additionally, Nature Research, the publisher of the journal Scientific Reports, is looking into alleged issues with the methods used in this study. New York, It is frequently discussed in anthropological literature as a Neanderthal trait but hardly reported and considered as a normal variant in medical literature. Regular spikes had to measure at least 0.2 inches (5 millimeters), and enlarged spikes measured 0.4 inches (10 mm). Editor’s Note: On Sept. 18, the authors of this “skull spikes” research published corrections to their study in the journal Scientific Reports. "We acknowledge factors such as genetic predisposition and inflammation influence enthesophyte growth," the authors write. Because it's an attachment site, the location of the EOP is technically an enthesis. There was a problem. (4.5 kilograms), and tilting it forward to look at funny cat photos (or however you spend your smartphone time) can strain the neck — hence the crick people sometimes get, known as "text neck.". [10 Amazing Things We Learned About Humans in 2018], A cause-and-effect relationship hasn't been identified, but it's possible that the spike comes from constantly bending one's neck at uncomfortable angles to look at smart devices. Original: The more we learn, the more it seems like our skeletal system is adapting to the unique stresses of modern life. In all, 41% of the group had an enlarged spike and 10% had an especially large spike measuring at least 0.7 inches (20 mm), the doctors found. A morphological adaptation? They are more likely to cause symptoms and be diagnosed when they grow large enough to put pressure on the brain. As Shahar and his colleague Mark Sayers's data indicate, there's a prevalence of EOPs growing longer in young people. The external occipital protuberance is a palpable bony projection in the middle of the occipital bone. Text neck can increase pressure on the juncture where the neck muscles attach to the skull, and the body likely responds by laying down new bone, which leads to that spiky bump, Shahar told the BBC. It makes up a large portion of the basilar part of the neurocranium and entirely houses the cerebellum.. They noted that rather than finding “a direct link” between the formation of the skull spikes and poor posture due to the use of cell phones and tablets, they found “possible associations.” What’s more, they note that most of their data came from patients who had visited a clinician because of a health concern, so “care should be taken to avoid over generalizing these results to an asymptomatic general population.” They also included additional clarifications to the methods of the study and a competing interest: “David Shahar provides posture related services as a chiropractic clinician and posture related advice and products through,” they wrote. 14 June 2019. Among users of hand-held devices, for instance, a recent systematic review found that neck-related conditions are up to 67 percent more common today than any other region of the spine. This may be the reason why some people — especially the younger crowd — are developing a weird, bony spike just above their necks. 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