Living in the modern digital age certainly has its benefits. We all enjoy the conveniences contemporary electronic technology offers, especially our mobile handheld devices. How did we ever live without the endless amounts of information, instant results and ability to interact and communicate, all at our fingertips? However, with all the advantages we gain from mobile technology comes the risk of serious and permanent health problems.
Texting has become the dominant form of communication. Over one billion text messages are sent every month worldwide. On the Average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day communicating and socializing on their phones, and even more time looking down at their mobile devices for web searching and so many other uses. People of all ages spend countless hours daily hunched over numerous types of handheld devices. Mobile technology has been designed for just about every application. Tablets, PDA, MP3, game consoles, e-readers, media players the list goes on and on.
While 75% of the world's population spends hours daily hunched over their handheld devices with their heads flexed forward, they are all in constant danger and at risk of damaging their neck. Texting requires the forward flexion on the neck causing changes in the cervical spine, curve, supporting ligaments, tendons, and musculature, as well as the bony segments, commonly causing postural change. Among the chief complaints associated with texting is pain felt in the neck, shoulder, back, arm, fingers, hands, wrists and elbows, as well as headaches and numbness and tingling of the upper extremities.
Texting is also a repetitive stress injury that affects the thumb and wrist. The motion uses a gripping motion causing the muscles in your hand to be used in a repetitive movement. This movement over time can cause a decrease in grip strength or range of motion in your thumb. The pressure puts a lot of repetitive stress on the thumb joint and the muscles and tendons attached to it. This causes pain and sometimes a popping sound are present on the outside of the thumb at or near the wrist. There can also be a decrease in grip strength or range of motion. The motion puts a lot of repetitive stress on the thumb joint and the muscles and tendons attached to it. There is an inflammation in the tendons and/or the synovial sheaths that cover the tendons that control the motion of your thumb. Over time this motion can become a form of tendonitis, tenosynovitis or a combination of both of those disorders.
If you feel the pain when you turn or flex your wrist or when you make a fist or grab something or you have a sore neck, shoulders, back or arms. Then take a break from texting or try varying the hand or digits used to text. Don’t text for more than an few minutes without a break. Stop texting if it produces pain or tingling in your thumbs or hands. You may need to make changes in your work, play, or texting habits. Never text while driving. Be alert when walking, particularly in cities. People have been injured or killed by walking into traffic while texting or talking on a cell phone. Don’t text while engaging in physical activities such as bicycling, rollerblading, or running. Remember you can always consider using the old fashion method of communication and talk to the individual on the phone.