Medical experts explain long term effects of texting

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Technology is the key to having all of the latest information at your finger tips. Anytime you leave the house, you’ll almost always see someone sitting or walking about with their head bowed, starting at a cell phone screen. Doctors say overuse could lead to injuries.

Click, swipe, scroll. Smart phones, tablets and computers are a part of our every day lives.

“I think it’s going to be a matter of time before people that do it consistently, we’re going to see some problems,” said Dr. Hugh Smisson III, a neurosurgeon at Georgia Neurosurgical Institute.

Medical experts agree. Injuries could come from overuse.

“I have made one diagnosis of tendinitis in a 15 year-old girl that I really felt was from texting,” said Dr. Guy Foulkes, an orthopaedic hand surgeon at OrthoGeorgia. 

But it’s rare.

“The fingers were meant to cycle many times,” explained Dr. Foulkes.

Dr. Foulkes said if someone has a normal anatomy in their hands and arms and they’re used to texting every day, they probably won’t get tendinitis from it. He explained a “normal anatomy” is when your tendon sheaths are well lubricated and have plenty of space.

The standard “texting position” is when you look down at your phone while sending a message. Dr. Smisson said this could cause strain on another part of your body.

“Three columns make up the structural stability of your neck. So when you’re leaning forward all the time, you’re actually putting more stress on the front column and you’re potentially stretching the ligaments toward the back column,” explained Dr. Smisson.

That stress injury isn’t common, but if you’re constantly looking down at your phone, you might experience some soreness. Dr. Smisson said one possible solution to the soreness is to switch around your position while texting. You can also do some light stretching and take a break from sending texts.

“Pain is God’s way of telling you you’re doing too much and to just back off a little bit,” said Dr. Foulkes.

If your pain continues after rest and stretching, you should visit a doctor because it could be something more serious.
Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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