Teenage texting causes pain


Saturday 2nd August, 2008

GoToSee PhysiotherapyWith exam results looming for the nation’s teenagers, Physiotherapists in the UK are urging young people to send less texts on their mobiles as it can lead to Text Message Injury (or TMI).

Over 140 million messages are sent it Britain every day and teenagers are among the most prolific texters. The amount of texts they are sending is cause for concern according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Results from a recent study have shown that a third of young people aged 16-24 who took part in a survey send on average 20 or more texts per day. One in six said they’d felt some discomfort in their hands during texting and a small number also felt it in their wrists, arms, neck and shoulders.

The study comes at a time when teenagers are likely to send more texts to their friends and family as they await exam results or pass on news about their grades.

“Texting is a great way to communicate – especially to pass on news about exam results,” said a spokesperson for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

“But mobile phones are not ergonomically designed for excessive texting and they require repetitive movements to operate them. Too much texting can result in pain and swelling of the tendons at the base of the thumb and wrist.”

Excessive texting can lead to muscle fatigue and upper limb disorders so the CSP have come up with the following five step plan to healthy texting habits:

1. Hold the phone up with the screen facing towards you so you are not having to flex your neck too much as you look down to view the screen.

2. Keep your hands close to your body. The weight of a phone may not feel much, but the load on your arm is significantly increased if the arm is held out stretched and this action will put strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.

3. Try to use both hands together when texting to “spread the load”. Keep messages short and use abbreviations and the predictive text messaging feature on your phone. This will help reduce the repetitive motion of pressing various keys.

4. Don’t text continuously. Try to take breaks by putting the phone down between text messages.

5. Carry out the following two exercises to prevent text message injury:

i).Regularly open your fingers and stretch them out.

ii).Stretch your arm out, rotate your wrist so it is facing upwards and with your other hand pull your palm down towards the floor to feel a stretch over the front of your forearm muscles. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

If you already suffer with serious discomfort from texting it is advisable to seek professional healthcare advice.

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