Do you experience neck pain after spending time on your smartphone? Do your eyes hurt after a day at your desk working on your computer? Do your thumbs feel sore after writing emails on your mobile device? We use our gadgets for everything, whether to access Optimum offers information or to turn on the air conditioning. But did you know, all these gadgets we use can be the source of significant health issues?
Common Health Problems caused by Gadgets
Smartphones and other gadgets are indispensable in our lives. But they also contribute to some real and seriously painful health conditions. While medical science is still trying to determine the extent of damage caused to our bodies, some common ailments are:
- Eye strain
- Neck Pain
- Thumb strain
- Elbow Strain
- Reduced hearing
Let’s discuss these problems and how to avoid them in brief detail.
Eye strain is also often referred to as computer vision syndrome within medical circles. It is a problem that commonly affects professionals and young adults alike. Computer vision syndrome is caused by a mix of factors which include:
- Display viewing angle
- Overhead lighting
- Smaller font sizes
All these factors contribute significantly to the strain and pain in the eyes felt as a result of computer vision syndrome. Experts are of the opinion that other common eye problems that go undiagnosed also add to the problem, making it worse. Problems like presbyopia are often exacerbating computer vision syndrome, making life harder for people who have it. The simple solution is to “exercise” your eyes to avoid the effects of computer vision syndrome. This usually takes a dual-purpose approach. The first purpose is to make your day less demanding in visual terms. The second is to take periodic visual breaks. Softer lights than overhead fluorescent lights relieve the strain on your eyes. Another good step to take is to place the display top at eye level so that the angle of viewing is around 10 degrees. To “exercise” your eyes, most experts recommend the 20/20/20 rule. After every twenty minutes, look away at a distance of twenty feet for twenty seconds. These breaks, if taken frequently, can seriously help break down eye fatigue caused by computer vision syndrome.
Neck pain caused by looking down at mobile devices is also known as “Text Neck”. Text neck is a condition generally caused by excessive smartphone or tablet usage. Texting is extremely popular with teens and young adults, making text neck a more common condition in this age group. This does not mean adults cannot also get the condition. Anyone with an excessive mobile device usage is at risk of developing text neck. Constantly tilting your head forward and downward places stress on the vertebrae of the neck. Extended excessive use can flatten the natural curvature of these vertebrae and can cause pain and discomfort. Over a long period of time, the pain can progress to the ligaments and muscles of the neck as well. One good way to avoid getting text neck is to take frequent breaks and exercise your neck through range-of-motion movements. You can also try holding your devices higher to reduce the strain you place on your neck. For chronic patients, electrotherapy and ultrasound treatments are effective at reducing the pain.
Also known as Blackberry thumb, thumb strain is primarily the result of excessive texting. The condition is a strain of either of two tendons. The tendon that brings the thumb to the palm or the tendon that extends the thumb can both be strained. This gives rise to Blackberry thumb. The strain damages the connecting tissue with tiny tears, with the severity depending on your smartphone habits. Generally, how hard and how fast you use your mobile device determines the extent of Blackberry thumb. The solution is to give breaks to your fingers and thumbs. Using your phone or tablet to write lengthy emails can strain your thumb. This can be reduced by repetitive breaks or an overall slowdown of the speed of use. Switching to a touchscreen phone greatly reduces the pressure exerted by the thumb, which can also help.
Elbow strain or iPad elbow is a condition that affects a number of tendons from the wrist to the elbow. The nature and extent of the damage are determined by how you use your tablet devices. Most people don’t care about the ergonomics of using a laptop or tablet. They simply curl up in bed or on the couch without a thought to posture. Experts are still trying to explore this particular type of strain, but they agree that taking breaks is the best solution. iPad holders and tablet holders are a great way to help counter elbow strain. They allow users to grip the tablet with ease and place it in various positions without having to hold it. This is easier on the eyes, neck, and arms altogether.
A significant chunk of the American population suffers from noise-induced loss of hearing. The prime culprit behind this is the growing use of headphones. Gone are the days of enjoying Spectrum Cable on your TV. People now use their smartphones to listen to music, watch movies and catch up with TV shows. When using headphones, sounds over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage if there is repeated exposure. Listening to loud music (105 decibels) for more than four minutes is enough time to cause damage to your hearing ability. The only simple solution to this problem is to use high-quality headphones, at reduced volumes. Noise-canceling headphones are also good because you don’t crank up the volume to drown out background noise.