Touch Screen Gadgets can Cause Arthritis and Stress Injuries

Text-Neck-photoExcessive use of touch screen smart phones and tablets leads to wrist and finger joint pain and it might end up in arthritis and repetitive stress injuries of your hands, arms and back, warn orthopaedic experts.

“In past few years there is a rise in the number of people complaining of aches and pains in their fingers, thumbs and hands and the main reason is the constant use constant use of touch screen phone, smart phone and tablets,” said Dr Raju Vaishya, President of Arthritis Care Foundation (AFC) & Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

According to doctors, the pain and stiffness may be the result of a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), which occur when the same motion is repeated over and over again, for a long period of time, causing inflammation in the ligaments and tendons of joints.

“Those who indulge in too much gamming and texting on touch screen smart phones and tablets can suffer from wrist and finger joint pain and some time crippling arthritis of fingers. Longer duration of gamming and texting can cause wrist and finger joint pain. In the age group of young children, longer use of gaming devices is associated with more pain,” said Dr Ramneek Mahajan, Director Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Saket City Hospital, New Delhi.

The Repetitive Stress Injuries can result from recurrent large or small movements that affect joints, muscles, tendons, and nerves. For example, people who frequently use their thumbs to type text messages on cell phones sometimes develop radial styloid tenosynovitis (also called De Quervain syndrome, BlackBerry thumb or texting thumb), a painful affliction that involves the tendons that move the thumb.

Although the causal link isn’t as well established as in patients who suffer from pain from prolonged desktop keyboard use, there’s little doubt that overzealous texting can cause debilitating pain.

As per doctors most people use touch screen in unnatural and wrong postures. Stress related injuries can also occur when people use their bodies in ways that induce physical stress, such as tilting their hands too far inward or outward while tapping or putting force on their wrists while typing. Carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps the best-known disease in this category, results from pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.

“Your neck and the cervical spine that supports it are highly susceptible to poor posture, which can compress or stretch on the nerves that exit the spinal cord. Resist the temptation to bend your neck forward or backward and especially avoid turning your head or tilting it to one side or another for prolonged periods. Take frequent breaks, and if you feel any pain, numbness, or tingling, stop what you’re doing immediately and find a more comfortable position,” suggests Vaishya.

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