- It can cause back pain and neck pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is common
- Numbness is also common
- If left untreated, an operation might be required
We can’t help but use our smartphones every single day. We use it to communicate, document, and entertain ourselves.
Many individuals can even say that they are on their phones 24/7.
Multiple studies and experts have suggested that prolonged use of smartphones can cause injuries to the hand and other proximal body parts.
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The most common injury would be trigger finger wherein there will be numbness in certain fingers and mobility is limited.
Another common injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. This injury also causes numbness but the patient can feel a shock in their fingers.
One common symptom of this injury is the shrinking of the thumb.
Dr. JJ Pua, an Orthopaedic hand surgeon at UST hospital, said that these common injuries share similar signs.
“Sumasakit siya, masakit hawakan, masakit igalaw. Ang pinakamasakit diyan is minsan pagkasara mo ng daliri, naiiwan sa ganitong posisyon.”
Pua also mentions that the use of smartphones is inevitable, so his advice would be to change position every 30 minutes to avoid posture problems from progressing.
The bone at the neck can also become thicker over time. The more someone looks down while using their phone, the higher the chances of getting this injury.
New York-based back surgeon Kenneth Hansraj has found that tilting your head down at a 45-degree angle puts approximately 49 pounds of force on your neck while tilting your head at a 60-degree angle puts 60 pounds of force on your neck.
Roger Powell, M.D. says that there are non-medical terms that describe smartphone injuries.
“Text Claw is a non-medical term that describes all of the finger cramping and aching muscles that come from constant gaming, scrolling and texting on smartphones, the medical term for it is ‘cubital tunnel syndrome.’ It can also be called ‘Cell Phone Elbow,’ described as numbness or tingling in the ring and pinky fingers that occurs after when the elbow is bent for long periods of time,” says Powell.
Smartphones can also cause dry eyes.
According to optician Andy Hepworth, smartphones and other gadgets have those special lights that will put users at a greater risk for macular degeneration which will eventually lead to blindness.
As mentioned before, smartphones also affect thumbs. Excessive texting, tapping, and forceful phone-gripping with your thumbs can lead to trigger thumb (painful popping and snapping when the thumbs bends and straightens) or thumb arthritis.
Always do things in moderation to avoid problems. Severe injuries that are left untreated will require an operation.