The damage your smartphone could be doing to… well, basically your whole body
Ever lazed on the couch so long scrolling through your phone that your arm went dead and your hand cramped up?
Orthopedic surgeon Dr Jonathan Herald is taking aim at smartphones and tablets, warning that they’re bringing on an “epidemic” of musculoskeletal injuries.
Unlike an oldschool computer that just sits on a desk, modern-day devices need to be supported in our hands — and Herald says it’s the resulting fatigue that can cause overuse problems.
At best, such problems require bouts of strengthening exercises. At worst, surgery is needed to fix them.
“We’re not meant to stay in a fixed position for a long period of time, so every hour I would say have a break,” Herald told A Current Affair. “Try and give yourself a physical break, a visual break, and a mental break.”
He said his patients typically come to him with four main injuries:
- Impingement syndrome, a shoulder condition mostly related to bad posture, which can damage the sensitive rotator cuff tendons around the joint.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, which are both related to holding your elbow bent in the same position for long periods of time — like holding your phone or your hands above a keyboard.
- Text neck, which you can see at bus stops, cafe queues and everywhere else people stare down at the phone in their hands.
These conditions can often be prevented via simple posture and muscle-strengthening exercises, which physiotherapist Jason Mads demonstrated for A Current Affair.