Nowadays, almost every household owns a television, computer, and a smartphone – sometimes several of each. Although these devices make our lives easier, society has seen a significant increase in the amount of physical stress caused by excessive technology usage. Here are a few tech-related injuries that are on the rise and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Text Neck
Staring down at your cell phone places additional stress on your neck, shoulders, and upper back - causing pain with repetitive use. In fact, for every inch that your head tilts forward, your spine undergoes an additional 10 pounds of strain.
Prevent it: Be mindful of your posture while using your tech devices. Position your computer, tablet, or smartphone so that you’re not tilting your head downward. Ideally, when holding your head upright, the center of your screen should be at eye level.
2. Trigger Thumb
Sometimes called “texting thumb”, this condition is another repetitive stress injury caused by all that swiping, scrolling, and tapping on our cellphone screens.
Prevent it: If minimizing your overall screen time isn’t feasible, be sure to rest your hands and fingers. Switch sides often and stretch your muscles periodically. Enable and use voice recognition whenever possible.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People with jobs that require a lot of keystrokes are at risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a painful condition of the wrist.
Prevent it: Try to minimize repetitive strain and learn to keep your wrists in a neutral position while working. Use keyboard and mouse wrist rests as not to allow your wrists to press against hard desk edges. Stretch your muscles periodically with an exercise like this.
4. Tech Arm
Holding your smartphone or tablet out in front of you for prolonged periods can cause elbow and shoulder pain.
Prevent it: Switch arms often to give your elbows a break from being in an awkward position. For time-consuming tasks, switch to an ergonomically-correct workstation.
There are many ways you can still use your devices and prevent these digital disabilities, but ultimately, reducing your screen time is the best course of action. Take frequent tech breaks and move your body to combat a sedentary lifestyle. If you do experience pain in the neck, thumb, wrist, or elsewhere, give our office a call at 772-286-5277.
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.