Most people these days are never without their smartphones. These devices have made our lives much easier. Smartphones are basically mini-computers in our pockets and handbags.
For all the benefits that come from having cell phones, there are also some risks associated with them. Your smartphone can have negative effects on your health that you should be aware of and try to prevent.
1. Text neck syndrome
Spending too much time looking down at your phone can cause muscle tightness or spasms in your neck. You might also have nerve pain in your back or your shoulder and arm. You should give yourself a break every 20 minutes to stretch and focus your eyes on a wall or object that is 20 feet away. This will relieve eye strain and give your neck a break. Try to sit up straight rather than hunching forward when you are on your phone. Hold your phone higher so you do not have to look down as much.
2. Trigger thumb
Trigger thumb happens when your thumb is stuck in a bent position and you can’t un-bend it, or if you can straighten it, it pops and may cause pain. There is a sheath that surrounds the tendon in your thumb, and when you experience a trigger thumb, the sheath becomes thicker and makes it harder for your thumb joint to move. So what triggers trigger thumb? Typing on your smartphone or keeping a tight grip on your phone can cause a trigger thumb. Using your phone less will help you experience trigger thumb less often.
3. Thumb arthritis
It is unknown if overusing your phone can cause thumb arthritis, but it can definitely worsen symptoms. If you have thumb arthritis, you will feel pain and tenderness where your thumb meets your wrist. Thumb arthritis is caused by the same things that cause trigger the thumb. You can treat thumb arthritis by resting your thumbs, taking pain medication, or using a splint.
4. Cubital tunnel syndrome
Leaning on your elbows to use your phone can put pressure on the ulnar nerve. This causes you to feel numbness and tingling in your ring finger and pinky. Your elbow and forearm may also feel sore from the pressure you put on your arm. You should use a cushion between your arm and the hard surface you are leaning on. Take breaks to straighten your arm and move it in different directions. You might want to try using a splint at night that will keep your arm straight.
5. Eye problems
The blue light from smartphone screens can tire your eyes out quickly and cause pain and dry eyes. It even has the potential to damage your corneas (the clear layer over your eyes), and this can cause problems with your eyesight. If you start to feel any of these, you should try to get less “screen time” – spend less time on your phone, computer, and other devices that emit blue light. When using blue-light devices, take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
There are a ton of issues that are associated with overusing your cell phone. So, be sure to take breaks and be mindful of your body position when using your phone.