We take our tech usage for granted these days but rarely consider the risk to our health from using our beloved gadgets. We recognise the serial user and will perhaps mock the stereotype of the moody teenager hunched over their phone or tablet, but I suspect that really we are all a little guilty of this behaviour at times. Do we really understand the risks associated with prolonged use though?
The combination of repetitive movements, intense use without rest breaks, lack of blinking, and poor posture can cause injury to the nerves, muscles and tendons, in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms, elbows, shoulders, and neck, which if ignored, can cause serious long-term damage.
In most businesses we are diligently advised on the prolonged use of a desktop computer – the DSE regulations, upper limb and back disorders, the need to be trained and risk-assessed, and yes we duly comply… we sit up straight and take regular breaks, perhaps some of us might even stretch. We are taught about repetitive strain injury prevention, screen gazing, dry eyes, etc. But do we really apply these principles to our mobile devices?
Whether we are slouched on the couch, hunched over lunch or taking the strain on the train, there are some simple exercises that we can do to minimise the effects of our tech use. Try increasing your blink rates, look into the distance regularly, limit your time using mobile tech and take regular breaks, have a stretch and get up and move around. Don’t be a slave to your tablet or smartphone!
Most importantly, understand the risks, and if you are in continuous pain seek specialist assistance.
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