Detection, Treatment, And Prevention Of Orthopedic Conditions From Cellphone Usage
With billions of cell phone users across the world and even more users adding the list every day, there has been an upward trend of orthopedic conditions arising due to overuse of cell-phones. This trend is more prevalent in youngsters as the number of kids using cell phone is ever-increasing.
Experts suggest that using cell phones in the wrong manner may lead to various problems that may manifest at a younger age, and may aggravate if the patient does not seek medical treatment in time. Medical conditions arising due to excessive cell phone usage are common examples of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI). While cell phone related health problems may be on the rise, certain orthopedic treatments and preventive measures can be considered to solve these problems.
Orthopedic Problems Occurring Due to Excessive Cell phone Use:
The following are four common problems that people suffer from after using their cell phones for long periods of time.
Text Neck Syndrome
This ailment occurs from bending the neck downwards consistently to look into the cell phone. The neck supports the weight of the head. However, when the patient bends his neck down and forward to look into the screen, tension is created in the neck, which leads to additional stress on the spine. Moreover, the shoulders bend forward along with the neck, creating additional muscular stress. The symptoms of Text Neck Syndrome include pain, stiffness, and neck discomfort. This condition is commonly seen in youngsters and teenagers, who may suffer from permanent damage if the condition is not treated early.
Cell phone Elbow
Cell phone Elbow: Medically known as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, cell phone elbow is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, and occasional burning in the forearm and hand. This results from bending the arm for long periods of time to hold the phone close to the ears. When the arm is bent, a nerve in the elbow known as the ulnar nerve gets compressed. Continual compression on a daily basis led to cell phone elbow.
A condition similar to Tennis Elbow, Selfie Elbow is caused by over stretching of the arm while taking selfies. The symptoms of this condition include strain and stiffness in the elbow. The selfie elbow can also be caused by taking selfies in the wrong manner, thus putting pressure on the arm and elbow. This condition is commonly seen in young adults, especially women. This condition aggravates if the person is involved in sports like tennis, squash, etc.
Blackberry or Texting Thumb
Blackberry or Texting Thumb: The medical name of this ailment is de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. In this condition, the tendon sheath of the thumb gets inflamed due repeat texting using only the thumbs. The symptoms of tenosynovitis are swelling and irritation of tendons and the protective sheaths around them. Patients may experience swelling and pain at the base of the thumb. These symptoms can worsen if the patient performs grasping or pinching movements. If left untreated, the condition may worsen leading to reduced grip strength and reduced range of movement of the wrist and in the long run, arthritis of the joints.
How to Detect these Orthopedic Conditions
If you are experiencing the symptoms of any of the above-mentioned conditions, it would be a good idea to go visit an orthopedic doctor. The doctor will conduct a physical examination, and inquire when the pain started. For cubital tunnel syndrome, the doctor may check the hollow part of the elbow for pain or sensitivity. He may get also get an X-ray done to confirm any anatomical changes in any of the body parts.
Treating Repetitive Stress Injuries
There are some common remedies, which can help in curing RSIs in the body.
Ice fomentation is a good solution to provide temporary treatment.
If the pain is severe, the orthopedic doctor can also prescribe painkillers to the patient.
The body part can be immobilized by using a splint or a brace to prevent the patient from performing any activity.
After the symptoms have been controlled, the patient can undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the elbow, hands, and wrists.
A Look at RSI Preventive Measures
Besides RSI treatment, there are also certain preventive steps that patients can use to ensure that these injuries do not recur.
- The patient should avoid using the cell phone for long periods of time. The person should be advised using it sparingly.
- Use the ball of the thumb rather than the tip while using the phone
- Alternate between the thumb and the index finger when using the phone
- Keep the phone at eye level while using it
- Adjust the phone’s display settings to ensure comfort while using it.
- When you are unable to use your hands, avoid bending the neck sideways to hold the phone.
- Use headphones or earphones for long calls
Repetitive stress injuries of the neck can become frustrating medical conditions if not tackled quickly. Taking preventive measures, and approaching an orthopedic doctor if the symptoms intensify can help you solve such medical conditions quickly, and with minimal discomfort.