In the age of technology, it makes perfect sense that new injuries are emerging.
We are living in a very interesting age. Technology has become more available and prevalent than ever, so it follows that people are finding new ways to injure themselves. Gone are the simple days of Carpal Tunnel, and neck strain. These days, we are plugged in 24/7, with our hands glued to our phones, so it is unsurprising that new kinds of injuries are emerging, related to our constant need to remain connected. The problem is that most of time we don’t realize the injuries are happening, since they result from our everyday habits and behaviors. Here are a few new ways people are hurting themselves, and ways to avoid them.
Selfie Elbow- Any time you hold your arms at an awkward angle, you are putting strain on forearm muscles, and potentially creating microtears in the elbow joint. Holding strenuous positions for the amount of time it takes to get a good selfie (which tends to be 10-15 seconds per photo) can cause inflammation, and problems down the road. The easiest way to avoid this is to switch up your ‘selfie arm’, ask a friend to take the photo, or use the automatic timer on your phone to get a good shot. Obviously cutting down on the number of selfies you take would also work, but I am trying to be realistic here.
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Thumb Strain- With the advent of smart phones, we have inadvertently created an entirely new back of thumb gestures that can cause strain on the tendons and muscles created by repetitive swiping and scrolling. The easiest way to avoid this is by changing up your fingers, or giving your thumb periodic breaks.
Neck Strain- Hand-held mobile devices can often be difficult to hold at a truly ergonomically correct angle, so the result is strain in the muscles or tendons in the neck. Most people hold their tablets in their lap, which puts pressure on your upper spine. The best way to deal with this issue is to make sure your tablet or smartphone is at eye level, and take frequent breaks to stretch out your neck.
Tech-related injuries tend to stem from repetitious behavior, so the best rule of thumb (no pub intended) is to be mindful of taking breaks from technology, and pay attention to any small aches or pains you may feel as a result of being plugged in.