Mobile Electronic Devices Cause Pain
Think about all of the mobile electronic devices you own. That list could include a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, a reading device, and a smart wrist watch. Now, add up all the hours you spend using your mobile devices. The minutes grow to hours, and the hours grow to days on end. If this sounds familiar, you may also be experiencing pain due to your use of mobile devices.
Neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision are often seen in those that use laptop computers all day, everyday. Users find themselves in awkward positions because of the tiny screens and keyboards. As the shoulders drift forward so does the head, this places the neck in a turtle-like posture whereby the hinge is at the base of the neck and the whole neck reaches forward with the head. This forward head posture places a great deal of stress on the small joints in the neck especially at the top where the neck meets the head. Thus, headaches, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, and blurry vision are commonly associated with this type of neck pain.
Mobile devices often cause users to look down a lot too. The constant neck flexion can lead to different type of neck pain, a pain from the cervical discs. Overtime, these discs can degenerate and lead to permanent cervical kyphosis. This usually will not be associated with headaches or other strange sensations in the head, but could lead to pain, numbness and tingling in the arm or even the legs.
Shoulder tendonitis and arm bursitis are commonly encountered with smart phone or tablet usage. The repetitive use of small, mobile devices throughout the day leads to inflammation of soft tissues in the arm. If you play games on your phone or are constantly socializing with your phone, you are at high risk for developing arm pain the more you tap, tap, tap during the day.
If you own and heavily use these electronic gadgets, then you need to pay particular attention to the amount of continuous time spent using the devices and your body position during the time spent using the device. In order to avoid some of these problems, try keeping your shoulders back in order to provide a better base of support for the neck and reduce the tendency for poor neck posture. You can also try to support the arms with arm rests or pillows as much as possible. Supporting the weight of the arm can greatly help the shoulders and neck.
If you are already experiencing pain, there are three things you can do. First, try icing down the painful area after each use. Next, talk to your local physical therapist about exercises and stretches to do. Lastly, use a desktop computer at a proper workstation more often than your mobile device. The remedy for mobile-device related pain often involves changing the way interface with your mobile devices throughout the day.
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Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.