Friday, January 30, 2015

Technology comes at a cost. It is not just about the monetary costs. In this article, I put down some health related costs that come with using or overly using smartphones. In using smartphones, you have to be smart else you would end up with one or more of the following health problems.

Health problems caused by Smartphones

Text Neck
Text Neck is a term used by doctors or physicians to describe the spinal disorder arising out of excess usage of smartphones. Normally, if the head is placed upright, there is no stress on the neck part of spine. But to read and text on smartphones, people tend to bend their necks up to 60 degrees. This increases the pressure on the neck. Long term usage of smartphones bring forth neck pain related to spine and hence, can be called spinal disorders. According to a survey published in Washington Post, around 80 percent of adult users suffer from this text neck pain.

The best way to avoid it is to bring up the phone to the level of your eyes and look straight into it. You need to make it a habit though it may look awkward. Another solution is to lower your eyes instead of bending your neck.
Vision Loss
Reading small fonts on a smartphone can disturb your vision permanently. This problem happens as your eyes are strained constantly by looking at the blue light coming out of the smartphone. Reading or using smartphones during absence of external light further boosts the problem. Your vision becomes poor and you might have to go for glasses.
The best way to avoid this is to look away from smartphones at regular intervals. Look at something far off and focus on it for a while before returning to the smartphone screen.
Wrist Problems
Another problem that comes with over usage of smartphones is the wrist problem. The way we hold smartphones for long durations, strains the wrist. People usually hold their phones using last three fingers and the thumb while using the forefinger for performing actions on the smartphone screens. Retaining the posture for longer durations every day tends to create pain in the wrist.
It is better to keep on changing the posture of phone when performing tasks like reading. You can put down the smartphone while lying on the bed or in the lap while sitting on a chair and look down at it instead of always holding it in your hands.
Numb Fingers
Similar to the above problem and for the almost same reasons, fingers of smartphone users become numb and produce a tingling sensation. Holding the phone places stress from the elbows to the fingers. The hands above elbow experience slower blood circulation and if not corrected immediately, can have long lasting effects. The forefinger too experiences the same and becomes numb after a while.
Instead of persisting in the same posture, it is recommended to put the phone away for a while. Then perform some movement of arms and fingers so that the feeling goes away. I would advise keeping away the smartphone for at least one minute every fifteen minutes of usage when reading or texting. That would avoid permanent problems that may arise due to persistence of prolonged usage like when reading books on the phone.
You can download this PDF file from Surgical Technology International for a full erad of the study undertaken by them.
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