If you spend plenty of time on a cell phone or on a tablet, you may feel soreness and cramping in the fingers, wrist and forearm after extensive tech use. It seems that distracted driving and walking aren’t the only dangers behind touchscreen devices. Moreover, most people do not know these perils exist.
Many researches on machine-human interactions have been done so far. Doctors distinguished three categories of computer-related ailments, both in traditional PC use and in the new class of touchscreen devices.
The following are those three categories of ailments:
REPEATED MOTION INJURIES
Also known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), these injuries are caused by repeated large or small movements that affect joints, muscles, tendons, and nerves. For instance, if you regularly use your thumbs to type text messages on cell phones, you may develop the Quervain syndrome. It is a painful problem for the tendons that move the thumb.
DISEASES CAUSED BY UNNATURAL POSTURES AND FORCES
These disorders are related to RSIs and take place when people use their bodies in ways that encourage physical stress, including titling the hands too far inward or outward while tapping or forcing the wrists while typing. The most popular disease in this group is carpal tunnel syndrome. It occurs from pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.
While sitting in front of the computer, many people struggle to read computer monitors. It can cause problems, such as ”computer vision syndrome”. Its symptoms include eye pain or redness, blurred double vision, and headaches.
Tips for prevention:
Take breaks from your device or if you can stay away from it. People shouldn’t be slaves to the machines.
You can give your fingers a break from typing and use voice-to-text feature on your phone.
Also, you can try typing with a stylus to reduce the repetitive motion for your thumb.
Type with the other hand too, so the one hand isn’t doing the whole work.
Another option is to put your phone on a table and type from there. When the phone is at rest, you are not going to irritate your hand too much.
It is advisable not to use the same muscles for other activities. Playing video games is not a good idea after texting.
Here are some easy stretches you can do at home if you feel pain:
Apply heat or cold to the painful area. It is better to apply cold because heat can cause swelling and more pain.
Stretch your arm out and extend the hand backward, stretching the muscles.
Massage the tightness and nodules. Use your fingers and press down on the forearm, moving up and down to search for nodules. They occur when the muscles go into spasm.
Stretch on your own by putting your hands together in a prayer-type gesture, and hold it for a few
Stretch your hand back and pull your fingers gently towards yourself while your arm is turned upside-down.
Flex your hand forward. Turn your wrist down and pull your fingers down and toward yourself.
Additionally, these types of injuries can lead to arthritis in adults who type or work with their hands on assembly lines.
Today, doctors frequently see many young adults with arthritis pain due to the gaming and texting they did as kids.
The base of the thumb is one of the most common places where we see arthritis from frequent hand use. This injury can trigger sharp pain that spreads out up the forearm.