It isn’t difficult to see the obvious strain that our smart phones are placing on our spine. One glance around a public space will reveal numerous slumped shoulders and bended necks of people who are fixated on their cell phones, tablets or laptops. The statistics of how many minutes and hours a day that people currently spend on their devices is alarming. While this certainly has an impact on the mind, the soaring screen time can also have a very negative impact on the musculoskeletal system.
Are your texting/Snapchatting/selfie-taking habits ruining your muscles and joints? Any muscle, tendon or joint that is over-used is at risk for a repetitive-use injury or strain. When it comes to tech-related injuries, the damage extends to places that may surprise you. Here are some common musculoskeletal setbacks that your technology habits can cause:
#1 Selfie Elbow
Yes, it’s a real thing – “selfie elbow.” If you are high on your selfie game, you may suffer from strain on your forearm muscle and inflammation in your elbow joint from the constant quest to find (and hold) the right camera angle while keeping your arm extended.
#2 Thumb Strain
This one can sneak up on you, but thumb strain can affect the avid Candy Crush player as well as the corporate professional trying to crank out emails during lunch. Either way, when you are repetitively swiping your thumb, scrolling or typing, you can easily overuse the tendons in your thumb.
#3 Tech Neck
The neck is one of the most compromised parts of your body when you spend too much time on your device. As much as you may try to stay in proper ergonomics, your neck may slowly drift towards your screen and stay in a bended or curved position for long amounts of time. This poor posture at the top of your spine can lead to headaches, shoulder pain, back pain and other problems throughout your body. Raise your smart phone or table to eye-level as much as possible to avoid the dreaded “tech neck”.
#4 Tight Hips and Lumbar Pain
If you spend your screen time sitting, as many of us do when working at a computer all day, you are at risk for tight hip flexors. Unfortunately, when the hip flexors get tight and short, it can produce pain in your low back, tailbone and glutes. Stretching, changing positions or finding a computer table that you can stand in front of can alleviate tight hips and the associated lumbar discomfort.
At Manhattan Sports Therapy, we understand the close link between musculoskeletal strains and your everyday postures. If you believe that your screen time habits are wreaking havoc on your muscles and joints, call our clinic today. We have a full menu of non-surgical treatment options to not only alleviate your current pain but also prevent it from coming back.