Just a few years ago, I helped Kyle with a paper he was doing for one of his college English classes. The topic he chose to write about was the possibility that someday soon, all the new, hand-held technology would make people suffer with addiction problems. The NEED to text, chat and email without being able to stop oneself was a real possibility. He walked around campus noticing everyone on their cell phones. It all made sense and it didn’t take very long before everything that he wrote about to come true. Ever leave your house now without your cellphone? Probably not, and if you do, like me, you probably feel “uncomfortable.” The need for Oprah to start a world-wide quest to reduce texting while driving, is a clear example of how extreme this problem has become and in such a short time.
But what about the physical aspects of using these devices. My client (and very dear friend) Lesley has been suffering in her right thumb area. Being an avid reader, she fell head over heals for her Kindle. I decided to do a search and see if she might have an over-use injury from it. In doing some research, I found this– BLACKBERRY THUMB! Since she and I both have iPhones and neither of us are abusers, her issue is definitely not from that. But I bet it IS from the Kindle and obviously, from the article I found, many others are suffering similarly from their Blackberries.
Yesterday morning, I saw a local chiropractor discussing an over-use injury he has been seeing more and more of…TEXT NECK! As soon as he said the 2 words together, it made total sense to me. For years we have known to keep our computer screen at a level that keeps our neck in a neutral position, but almost everyone looks down, to text or read their messages or emails on their phones. Think about it.
Ears are meant to be centered over our shoulders. A million times a week I must say “center your ears over your shoulders, ribs, hips and ankles.” That is a neutral neck, or an anatomically correct posture. It is a position that not only encourages beautiful posture, but more importantly keeps our spines healthy and strong. It also keeps us from having pain in our necks. The muscles in the back of the neck were night designed to remain in a craned forward position.
I am not so worried about my generation. But I am really concerned about the younger generation. They have grown up on these hand held devices and they have unlimited texting on their phone plans and they use thousands of texts every single month. Since over-use injuries happen over the course of time, they won’t really know how much damage they have done until they start getting too many headaches or begin to experience chronic neck pain.
Since we can’t expect texting to go away, we need to work on bringing the phone up to our level, instead of bringing our eyes down to it’s level. No doubt this will take a little getting used to, but so what? Apparently there is already an app available for the droid which teaches proper alignment. One will soon be available for the iPhone as well. We don’t need an app, though, to teach us to just raise the phone up. It’s easy enough to do, we just have to remember. If you have to hide your phone under a desk you shouldn’t be using it! That goes back to the mental addiction aspect 🙂
As modern technology continues to grow at an incredible rapid speed, we need to remain diligent in our efforts to remain healthy and safe. As a rule, our eyes belong looking ahead. Anyway, when we look down, we miss way too much of what’s right in front of us. For the sake of others as well as ourselves, let’s use our wonderful technology to enhance our lives, not destroy them.
If you love someone who texts a lot, share this information with them. I immediately shared it with my kids. They might think you are being a real pain in the neck, but you might just save them from a much bigger one later on!
Have a great Friday. Let the holiday weekend begin.