More than 67% of Canadians own smartphones. If you are part of this demographic, you have likely experienced one or more injuries associated with smartphone use. Smartphones are constantly getting thinner, faster, and smaller. For aesthetics, this is great. But as smartphones diminish in size, they force us to contort our bodies into awkward and unnatural positions.
Here are some chronic smartphone injuries you should avoid:
Have you ever seen anyone scrolling through their Facebook feed with a smartphone at eye-level? Likely not. For privacy reasons, many of us prefer to use our phones at belly button height. Tilting your head forward and downwards puts a significant amount of pressure on your neck and spine—about 43 pounds, to be exact. Muscle strains in the neck, upper and lower back are a common side effect of smartphone use.
Texting requires significantly less physical exertion than golfing. Gripping your smart phone for long periods of time, however, can result in an elbow injury similar to one frequently experienced by golfers. This injury causes inflammation and pain in the tendons connecting the forearm to the elbow.
If you’re an avid smartphone user, you likely navigate your phone with your thumbs. This motion forces the flexor tendon in the thumb to constrict, and can result in painful popping when bending and straightening the thumb. In more severe cases, smartphone users can experience arthritis where the thumb connects to the wrist.
Slouching, hunching, and general poor posture can all be tied back to smartphone use. In fact, around 84% of 18 to 24-year-olds have reported experiencing back pain, specifically in the lower back. Much of this can be attributed to the contorted position many of us find ourselves in when we use a smartphone.
If you Google “smartphone pinky” your search will explode with photographs of crooked or kinked pinky fingers. If you’ve ever paid attention to how people hold their smartphones, you may have noticed the pinky finger hooked under the bottom of the phone, helping support the phone during texting and scrolling. Although this may begin as a minor dent between the first and second joints in your finger, it can eventually cause osteoarthritis—the breakdown of cartilage underlying your bones.
Smartphones may be small, but they are certainly not harmless. As physiotherapy experts, we provide a wide range of rehabilitation services, like sports rehabilitation, pediatric care, motor vehicle accident rehabilitation, work related injury treatments, and chronic (or smartphone) injury management.
If you experience chronic pain in your neck, back, or any other parts of the body, and suspect it is caused by smartphone use, get in touch with us at Pro Care Physiotherapy today to see how we can help.