Technology has changed the way we approach our daily lives, communicate with one another and organize our busy schedules. Although our tablets, smartphones, and laptops make our lives easier in incredibly significant ways, technology can also have harmful effects on our bodies in Eden Prairie.
Here are just a few of the ways that your favorite gadgets might be setting you up for medical complications in the future:
Check your inbox on your smartphone. Chances are, you just grabbed your phone out of your pants pocket, stooped your head down about 60 degrees and remained in that position until you finished. You might be surprised to find out that every time you do that, you put the equivalent of 60 pounds of pressure on your neck, according to a study published in Surgical Technology International.
According to a study by Deloitte, Americans check their cell phones about 46 times a day, on average. Multiplying that force over the course of your lifetime, it’s easy to see why back pain and spinal injury are on the rise, especially in aging demographic groups.
Most office workers also spend between 4 and 8 hours a day working at a desktop computer—the combined toll on your vertebrae might be too much to handle over time.
To reduce the risk of back pain and spinal injury, pay close attention to your posture, even when performing mundane tasks like checking your phone. Keep your chin up when walking and avoid rounding your shoulders to ensure optimal spinal health well into old age.
If you spend prolonged periods of time in front of a computer screen —and who doesn’t?— then you need to take extra care of your eyes. They, like any muscle in the body, can be strained by overuse. This produces symptoms that include headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
The American Optometric Association has a “20-20-20 rule” concerning digital eyestrain. it recommends you take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This keeps your eyes well-adjusted and relatively safe from lasting damage.
Additionally, avoid looking at bright screens in the dark—watching YouTube videos in bed, for instance. Your pupils adjust themselves to the ambient darkness, and a bright computer or television screen causes much greater strain in contrast than it does when surrounded by regular daylight.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Selfie Elbow
Yes, selfie elbow is a real condition. Taking lots of selfies can produce the same type of musculoskeletal stress as playing ping pong or tennis. Expect Snapchat to release a “guide to proper selfie form” any day now. Fortunately, ice and gentle stretching can help to relieve yourself of the symptoms.
The medical community has treated carpal tunnel syndrome for decades, although it became more well-known after being linked to constant, repeated keyboard use. Avoid keeping your hands in an uncomfortable typing position and regularly stretch out your fingers to steer clear of this painful condition.
Do you suspect that technology is impacting your health? Schedule an appointment with a Wellspring Health Center therapist today.