Prolonged usage of mobile phones and other devices detrimental to health
New Delhi, 18 September 2018: A free health camp held for the State Secretariat in Mumbai revealed that about 100 employees exhibited clear symptoms of hypertension and stress. A large majority had an emerging problem: the Text Neck Syndrome. As many as 60% of the 982 staffers tested had a pain in the neck due to incorrect cell phone usage, poor postures in cramped workplaces, a sustained job profile as pen-pushers, to some extent.
Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. Apart from adults, it is increasingly becoming common in young children and teenagers as well. Over time, it can cause permanent damage to the cervical spine leading to lifelong neck pain.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Prolonged and sustained use of electronic devices influences our posture, and can have other impacts on our health. Using these devices typically requires a head-forward-and-down position, which increases the stress on the neck and may lead to musculoskeletal problems over time. While texting is a more recent phenomenon, the Forward Head Posture, or FHP, was the original health condition. This describes the positioning of the head forward from the center of the shoulders causing the head to shift the body’s gravity and in turn, serious health conditions. This is completely preventable condition.”
Some signs of a text neck, apart from pain and soreness include chronic and nagging upper back pain and spasms, shoulder pain and tightness, and certain neurological symptoms.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also President (Elect), CMAAO, said, “Apart from this, a new spectrum of diseases related to use of mobile phones has come to the notice of medical profession. It is that 10 years from now, they will take an epidemic shape. Some such diseases include Blackberry Thumb, Computer Vision Syndrome, Nomophobia, Ringxiety, Phantom Ringing, and social media addiction. In this digital era, the key to good health should be moderation – moderate use of technology. A lot of us have become slaves to devices that were really meant to free us and give us more time to experience life and be with people. Unless precautionary measures are taken at the earliest, this addiction can prove detrimental to one’s health in the longer term.”
Some tips from HCFI
- One should take a full one-week Facebook holiday in case of a social media addiction.
- Everybody should have 30 minutes of electronic curfew before they sleep. This means not using mobile phones and other mobile devices for 30 minutes before sleep. Use mobile only when mobile.
- Limit mobile talk time to less than 2 hours a day. Once the battery is discharged, call it a day for mobile use.
- Follow the formula of “20-20-20″ to prevent dry eyes: Every 20 mins, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds or close the eyes for 20 seconds, at least every half hour.
- To prevent computer vision syndrome, spend less than 3 hours on a computer.
- Using other fingers to press buttons on handheld device can prevent BlackBerry thumb.