Is Your Smart Phone Hurting Your Body?

Do you have hand, wrist or elbow pain that you think may be linked to the overuse of your computer or mobile phone? Then you are probably right and not alone!

Health practitioners are seeing a rise of dysfunctional postures and soft tissue injuries caused by prolonged use of these devices, and there are now many medical research papers exploring these issues.

Common problems associated with mobile devices and laptops:

+ Tennis elbow

+ Golfer’s elbow

+ Shoulder tendinitis and rotator cuff syndrome

+ Tight upper shoulder muscles

+ Rounded shoulders, upper and lower back

+ Forward-positioned head

+ Tension headaches

+ ‘Texting’ thumb (repetitive overuse causing inflammation to thumb tendons)

+ Tendinitis of the forearm muscles

We at Total Physiotherapy can provide you with appropriate diagnosis and treatment of these injuries.  Treatment may initially involve rest of the injured tissues including taping and splinting.  However, the therapy is often directed at addressing the cause and we have put together 10 top tips to help reduce the risk of these injuries developing. 

  1. Take breaks every 15 -20 minutes, during which you get up to move around and stretch.
  2. Try to ensure your forearms and elbows are supported, e.g. arm rests on your chair, or if necessary cross one arm over your body and use that to prop your other elbow on.
  3. Try to keep the phone at eye level.
  4. Don’t grip the phone too tightly.
  5. When typing, tap the keys lightly.
  6. Vary which hand you use, and also use your fingers to type sometimes, to give your thumbs a break.
  7. Spend periods of time with your phone put away, e.g. mealtimes and evenings.
  8. Charge the phone overnight in a different room to your bedroom, to reduce the temptation to use it just before you go to bed, and as soon as you wake up.
  9. Stretch out daily at home, e.g. lying on a longways foam roller, with your arms opened out to the side.
  10. See your physiotherapist or remedial massage. therapist if you notice problems arising, before they become too severe.

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