Your Smartphone Is Hurting You

We often talk about the social consequences of being glued to our devices. The physical consequences, however, are just as damaging and sinister.

texting 

(Photo Credit:kamshots/Flickr)

Posture

Mark's Daily Apple makes the observation that when people are speaking on their phones or reading texts, they tend to jut their heads out and sometimes to the side. This puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on vertebrae in the neck. Human heads are heavy, and our necks are designed to hold our heads up, not dangle them out in front or to the sides. Over time, this pressure can result in poor posture as well as neck and back strain and pain.

Tendinitis

When texting, the thumbs are working at a fast pace, performing repetitive movements. This causes tendinitis. Tendinitis means inflammation of the tendons; tendons connect bone to muscle. When they become inflamed and sore, sufferers experience pain or numbness and an inability to use the affected limbs. In this case, that would be the thumbs and hands.

Sleep Disturbance

"Sleep texting," may sound at first like a joke. According to CBS Boston, it is a new but very real and serious medical condition.

Some people report that when the wake in the morning, there are numerous text messages that they seem to have sent the night before ... and they have no memory of doing so. The sent texts are more likely to be word salad rather than coherent messages.

The physical health consequences of sleep texting are the same as for any other cause of sleep deprivation. Sufferers wake in the morning feeling exhausted. Their cognitive functioning is low due to lack of the necessary REM sleep that we all need for optimal brain functioning and health.

Solutions

Sleep texters are advised to remove devices from their bedrooms before turning in for the night. The other physical problems caused by too much device use may be solved but putting down the phone and engaging in some sort of physical exercise. Stretching, yoga, cycling, or a walk in the woods -- whatever your favorite physical activity is, engaging in it regularly is a good way to avoid the damaging effects of technology.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you experience any physical ill effects from using devices? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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