3 Ways Technology Can Be a Real Pain
According to a 2016 Nielsen Company audience report, Americans are spending nearly 11 hours each day glued to their smartphones, tablets, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs, and television sets.
All this screen time is leading to increasing numbers of people suffering from technology-related discomfort and even injuries. Have you experienced any of these?
Tech neck — sometimes labeled text neck — is one of the most obvious signs of overuse of a smartphone. Tech users who hold their head in a flexed, forward position while looking down at a handheld electronic device or laptop are putting their spine in a very vulnerable position and exposing themselves to a range of neck and back problems, including:
- Muscle strain
- Disc damage
- Pinched nerves
- Shoulder pain
- Radicular pain
- Bone spurs
- Muscle deformity
According to a 2015 study in the journal Ergonomics, text messaging is worse on the neck than other smartphone tasks because of the extreme angle of the head while texting as opposed to watching a video or surfing the web.
Our near-constant clicks, taps, swipes, and keystrokes can also have painful consequences. Common overuse injuries connected with electronic device use include tennis and golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and mouse shoulder.
The repetitive movements and awkward postures employed during high levels of computer and digital device use can cause muscle and tendon pain, as well as swelling, joint stiffness, weakness, and numbness.
Some ways to avoid painful computer-related overuse injuries include:
- Using an adjustable computer desk and chair
- Keeping the computer screen at eye level or slightly lower
- Positioning your keyboard at a height that will allow your elbows to rest comfortably at your sides
- Using an ergonomic chair that will help your spine hold its natural curve
- Using a standing desk to avoid sitting for hours on end
- Taking frequent breaks to stand or go for a walk
Digital Eye Strain
The dangers of too much tech time aren’t just orthopedic: A 2016 report from The Vision Council sheds light on digital eyestrain, which they describe as discomfort experienced by those who spend two or more hours staring at a digital screen. According to the report, adults under age 30 experience the highest number of digital eyestrain symptoms, which include:
Although adults who spend the majority of their workdays on a computer would seem to be the most vulnerable to digital eyestrain, eye-care providers have reported an increase in myopia (nearsightedness) in children, thought to be due to a marked increase in near-range activities, such as using a handheld electronic device.
The optimal space between your eyes and a computer or laptop screen is 20 to 40 inches — approximately an arm’s length away. But modern workspaces are often far from ergonomically correct, which puts extra strain on our necks and backs.
Chiropractic Care and Tech Injuries
Of course, stepping away from the screen is a good way to limit tech injuries. But, we know you’re not about to give up your smartphone and computer. So, what can you do to keep them from being a real source of pain?
Chiropractic care is a good starting point. Experienced chiropractors not only treat physical symptoms through spinal adjustments, but they also can recommend appropriate exercises and provide lifestyle suggestions that can be extremely beneficial in treating the pain associated with our sedentary, technology-driven society.
Contact Tuck Chiropractic Clinic with any questions or to schedule an appointment for your initial assessment.
Image by akhenatonimages / 123RF Stock Photo.
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