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Got Tech Neck and Cell Phone Elbow? March 3, 2011

Posted by ToYourHealth in Public Health.
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On the rise: tech neck, cubital tunnel and cell phone elbow.

We recognize the rounded back, oddly angled neck, and whirring thumbs among users of today’s necessary technology. A surge in tendonitis in the neck and forearms has resulted from our overuse of not just laptops, but increasingly, cell phones. The American Physical Therapy Association has named BlackBerry Thumb an official workplace malady. Musculoskeletal strain has landed many an employee in the doctor’s office with complaints of sore backs, necks and arms, stiffness and migraines.

For around $200 some spas now offer a 60 minute tech neck massage to temporarily relieve these aches and pains affecting the fingers, hands, arms, neck, upper back and head. (Another popular spa service is a cell phone facial, typically costing $225-$250.) But the problem persists with our addiction to cell phones which now function as so much more. The tiny screens cramp our fingers and shoot pain from the fourth and fifth fingers up through the elbow.

In addition to using hands-free headsets, taking breaks, and rolling the neck, there are other measures to prevent long-term injury from overusing our devices:

  • Be aware of your posture and time spent on your phone. Often, awareness alone is enough to change behavior;
  • Use the full range of your muscles regularly to keep oxygen and blood flowing through extremities;
  • Keep ergonomics in mind and hold your device at or below eye level to keep your cervical spine in a neutral position;
  • Avoid texting while walking and certainly while driving;
  • Lengthen the spaces between vertebrae and increase circulation by practicing yoga;
  • Try sleeping with SquidFace™ or ComfyRest™ pillows;
  • If all else fails, try non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and physical therapy.
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