The age of technology is great as we receive information quicker, we can communicate with our family and friends more frequently and we work more efficiently. However we are beginning to see the effects of technology on our bodies. The more time we spend typing on our keyboards, tapping our screens or thumb scrolling the more we experience fatigue in our neck, aches in our forearms and pain in our thumbs and wrist area. New terms have been created due to our technology ailments; have you heard of digital disabilities? These include text neck or cell phone elbow.
Text Neck is neck pain and damage from looking down at your tablet, cellphone or other wireless devices for frequent and prolonged periods of time. Text neck is becoming increasingly more common as we continue to rely on wireless devices. The more typing, swiping and tapping, the more stress we experience in our muscles. The posture of bending your neck to look down doesn’t just occur when texting as we all look down when we read. The issue is that we tend to text more frequently for longer periods of time and this just adds one more activity to our spine.
The symptoms of text neck are as follows:
1. Upper Back Pain
2. Shoulder Pain
3. Pain down your arm and into your hand
Prevention of text neck:
1. As much as possible keep your phone at eye level.
2. Every 20 to 30 minutes, put your cellphone down and walk around.
Treatment of text neck are as follows:
1. Increase your core muscles to support your upper body, which includes your neck.
2. Strengthen your neck muscles and increase your neck’s flexibility.
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy we can create a customized physical therapy program that includes core muscle exercises as well as neck exercises that focus on strengthening those muscles so that you can minimize the strain on your neck.
Cell Phone Elbow is another term that we are hearing more and more. It is also known as cubital tunnel syndrome and can be caused from prolonged cell phone use. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is the a common nerve compression syndrome in the upper extremities. Cell Phone Elbow can occur when the elbow is flexed for longs period of time, such as speaking on the phone.
The symptoms of Cell Phone Elbow are as follows:
Pain/Numbness/Tingling in the small and ring fingers
Pain/Numbness/Tingling in the forearm
Fatigue/Weakness in hand (difficulty to open jars)
Prevention of Cell Phone Elbow is as follows:
1. Switch hands frequently when talking on phone
2. Use a hands-free headset
Treatment of Cell Phone Elbow is as follows:
1. Manual Therapy
2. Prescription Medication
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy we will partner with you to create a program that consists of manual therapy exercises and activities. We can educate you on the proper stretches that will create less stress on the elbow as well as exercises that strengthen the elbow.
Give us a call today to make your appointment.