Written by Dr. Krishna Reddy, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon
Greetings! I’m Dr. Reddy, your friendly Orthopedic Surgeon at the Adams County Regional Medical Center (ACRMC). Let’s explore a topic that’s become increasingly relevant in our modern lives: “On Your Cell Phone Too Much? What Happens to Your Body.” In our tech-savvy world, cell phones have become an integral part of our daily routines. While they offer convenience and connectivity, excessive phone use can have physical and orthopedic consequences. Let’s explore how your body can be affected when you’re glued to your phone and what you can do to maintain your orthopedic well-being.
The Physical Toll of Excessive Cell Phone Use:
Neck Strain: When you hunch over your phone for extended periods, it places significant strain on your neck muscles and spine. This can lead to “text neck,” characterized by neck pain, stiffness, and poor posture.
Shoulder Tension: Holding your phone while texting or browsing can cause shoulder muscles to tense up, potentially leading to discomfort and even conditions like frozen shoulder.
Hand and Wrist Issues: Frequent texting and scrolling can strain the muscles and tendons in your hands and wrists, potentially causing conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Thumb Problems: Excessive texting with your thumbs can lead to thumb pain and conditions like “smartphone thumb” or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Eye Strain: Staring at a small screen for prolonged periods can strain your eye muscles, leading to digital eye strain or “computer vision syndrome.”
Poor Posture: Frequent phone use encourages slouching and poor posture, which can contribute to back and spine problems.
Orthopedic Tips for Smartphone Users:
Ergonomic Awareness: Maintain good posture when using your phone. Hold it at eye level to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.
Take Breaks: Give your neck, shoulders, and hands regular breaks from phone use. Stretch and relax these areas.
Use Voice Commands: Whenever possible, use voice commands or voice-to-text features to reduce the need for typing and swiping.
Limit Screen Time: Set limits on your phone usage and take digital detox breaks to reduce overall exposure.
Strengthening Exercises: Perform exercises to strengthen neck, shoulder, and hand muscles to combat the effects of phone use.
Eye Care: Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and focus on something 20 feet away to reduce eye strain.
Mindful Phone Use: Be mindful of your phone usage habits and make conscious efforts to reduce unnecessary screen time.
Excessive cell phone use can have a real impact on your orthopedic health. By incorporating these tips and being mindful of your phone habits, you can mitigate the physical toll and maintain a healthier relationship with your device.
If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to explore in future columns, please feel free to reach out. Remember, your orthopedic well-being matters, and making small adjustments in your phone usage can lead to significant benefits.