Smartphone Use: The Hidden Hazards
By Stepy Kamei
It may seem like a good thing that we can use our smartphones to get and stay connected to friends, family, business associates and colleagues, and loved ones all over the world at virtually any time, and at any convenience. While there have been some notable benefits brought about by the increase in usage of smartphones, such as easier communication and increased productivity for some people, there are some drawbacks to this common habit as well. When it comes to your physical, as well as your mental, health and well-being, there are some precautions you should keep in mind if you know that you're guilty of indulging in a little too much smartphone screen time.
Physical Health Issues of Smartphone Use
Spending hours out of your day craning your neck down to look at your smartphone can, understandably, lead to more than a few health problems. The rise of cell phone use has led to an increase in a phenomenon scientists and healthcare experts refer to as "tech neck" or "text neck." This occurs when people angle their necks sharply down and out to look at the screens of their phones (or their laptops, tablets, etc.) Over time, prolonged tech neck can cause neck pain, back pain, tension headaches, and stiffness and inflammation in the joints. These issues only get worse the more a person uses their phone in an excessive manner.
A person's hands can also experience issues as a result of too much smartphone interaction. Pinched nerves, numbness and tingling sensations, and inflammation of the muscles are all very common health issues which arise in the hands and wrists of people who use their smartphones improperly or excessively.
One of the easiest ways to prevent or avoid these issues from ever occuring in the first place is to limit your use of smartphones -- or at least be sure to take frequent breaks, if you need to stay connected due to work commitments or something of this nature. You should also work on being mindful of your posture and the way your body forms while interacting with a smartphone. Avoid tech neck by keeping your phone as close to eye level as you can. Alternate between hands while texting/swiping/etc., to avoid overusing and straining the muscles and nerves of one particular hand. Be sure to keep your smartphone use in a healthy range, and your health won't suffer for it.