New and Noteworthy

New and Noteworthy

Technology and Repetitive Strain Injury

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Everyone remembers their mother saying to them, “if you keep making that face it’s going to stick like that.” Well, thanks to the overuse of some modern technologies like smartphones, tablets, and personal gaming devices, it’s actually happening. Ok, not actually happening, but repetitive strain injury is on the rise, and more and more people are coming down with Blackberry thumb or iPhone thumb and text neck. And although the underlying medical reason for these injuries is unknown, the treatment is simple – put down the device!

Blackberry Thumb and iPhone Thumb

Although hardcore smartphone manufacturer loyalists will argue phone virtues until blue in the face, no one can argue that overuse of these convenient devices can cause medical problems.

A repetitive strain injury know as Blackberry thumb, iPhone thumb, or in legitimate medical circles, De Quervain's tenosynovitis, affects the thumb tendons on the thumb side of the wrist causing discomfort, swelling, and in some cases a need for medical intervention or even surgery.

Although a cause for the condition is not known, the recommended treatment always involves stopping the repetitive movement – smartphone use – that could continue to irritate the tendon. This is good news for the wrists and thumbs of habitual texters, surfers, and updaters, but its bad news for people who, “just can’t live without their phones.”

Text Neck

But thumb and wrist injuries aren’t the only way that personal electronic devices can inflict pain on dedicated users. Continually leaning forward to keep an eye on smartphones, pads, personal gaming systems, and the many other personal electronics on the market today can also have a negative impact on neck health.

Coined as text neck, this syndrome can cause any number of symptoms making it tough to treat and hard to ignore.

The Text Neck Institute defines the syndrome as an “overuse syndrome involving the head, neck, and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device, i.e., mobile phone, video game unit, computer, mp3 player, e-reader. This can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, breathing compromise, and much more.”

Like almost every bit of advice pertaining to indulgence and health, the prevailing knowledge about conditions like text neck and Blackberry and iPhone thumb is enjoy in moderation. So, if you have a sore neck or an achy thumb, tone down the tech – and live to text another day.

Author: Brendan Purves

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