The Cool Communicator: The Hidden Dangers of Texting
With over 152.7 billion text messages sent per month in the United States alone, it is becoming clear that our society is shifting its primary method of communication from our mouths and voices to our hands and fingers. With this shift there has also been an increase in the number of injuries related to these repetitive motions.
More and more Americans are experiencing tingling, numbness and pain in their fingers and wrists. Is it just tired hands or something more serious? While these can all be signs of tired, overused hands, these symptoms can also indicate something more serious, such as a repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, aggravation of arthritis or sprains, and even carpal tunnel syndrome.
Interestingly, despite the common conception that typing and texting cause carpal tunnel; there is no scientific evidence proving that keyboard use leads to carpal tunnel. That is why it is so important for people to go see their doctors when experiencing symptoms in their hands and wrists, instead of trying to self-diagnose. A proper diagnosis is the only guaranteed way to ensure that the proper treatment plan is prescribed in order to avoid complications and surgery later on.
“It is important that patients don’t dismiss symptoms of sore fingers, occasional numbness and tingling”, says George Kardashian, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist at The Center for Bone and Joint Disease in Hudson, FL. “These symptoms are all the body’s way of saying it needs a break or a more serious injury will occur.”
How to Prevent Serious Injuries
Since it is almost impossible to stop using mobile devices or computers completely, it is important to know how to prevent these symptoms from turning from sore, tired fingers into something more severe.
Kardashian suggests patients take frequent breaks from texting and typing and stretch the affected areas if experiencing any symptoms. If pain and/or swelling exist, use ice packs to reduce swelling while giving your hands a rest. Also, for those individuals who spend most of their day in front of a computer it is important to have an ergonomic workstation.
“Be aware of the additional strain you are putting on your hands, fingers, thumbs and wrists,” Kardashian adds. “Taking precautions by stretching and resting your hands and wrists will allow your body to recover.”
In December 2009, there were 286 million US text message subscribers who sent 152.7 billion text messages per month, for an average of 534 messages per subscriber per month, according to CTIA – The Wireless Association.
These numbers show that the use of mobile devices will be a part of our daily lives moving forward and people need to know how to protect their hands and wrists to prevent texting injuries from occurring.
About The Center for Bone and Joint Disease:
The Center for Bone and Joint Disease has been serving the Tampa Bay community for over 30 years. Dr. Norman Higgins opened the practice in 1973 and is still in surgical practice. There are currently six orthopedic surgeons, a physiatrist and four physician assistants treating thousands of patients in three office locations. The Center for Bone and Joint Disease’s physicians are all Board-Certified/Eligible in Orthopedics and have received specialized fellowship training in areas such as hand and spinal surgery. Visit www.centerforboneandjoint.com or call 727.697.2200 to learn more.