Beyond BlackBerry Thumb: A Pain In The Neck?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on March 7, 2011

Though Blackberry still ranks amongst the best smartphones in the world, its health hazards are a well documented affair, courtesy the infamous “Blackberry Thumb“. There’s no doubt the Blackberry Thumb has serious implications and may even require surgery to get tendons removed from the user’s hand, thankfully – it’s largely limited to texting addicts.

However, the ill effects of smartphones aren’t just limited to your thumb. A recent study conducted at the University of Waterloo suggests increased addiction to BlackBerrys, iPhones or other handheld mobile devices may cause severe neck pain and could possibly lead to musculoskeletal problems.

And researchers still say there’s no evidence to conclude that smartphones are injurious to health 🙂

People unknowingly get into awkward postures while talking on their cellphones. While that’s bad enough, the situation worsens when they tend to use their cellphones while they are walking, driving or in bed. Since the phone is the center of the attraction, the posture and its correctness takes a back seat, thereby leading to pain and fatigue. The study reveals that users’ arms may become fatigued holding up the gadget and the neck gets bent out of shape looking down at the device. A number of users also tend to hunch their shoulders forward, thereby leading to upper body strains.

Though the study targeted a small user base, its findings provide a good indication of the “aches and pains believed to be linked to text messaging, Internet browsing and playing games on the ubiquitous devices.” Unfortunately, the golden rule of The More, The Merrier doesn’t quiet hold true in this case – the more you use your smartphone, the more it’s likely to hurt your neck. Though smartphones manufacturers repeatedly go gaga over the “usability” and “experience” factors, the excessive usage of these devices can be bad for your back and neck, especially if hold them lower than laptops and the screens are so small.

I use my BlackBerry daily to check and respond to important emails. Though I’m aware that I should hold the device at eye level, I’m stooping over my BlackBerry thereby leading to a strain in my upper neck. Call it ignorance or laziness, I’m at fault and I admit it. Of course, there’s a strong need for educating users on how to avoid such painful situations. The American Chiropractic Association’s website provides some handy tips related to posture, frequency of usage and identification of signs related to neck pain or phone fatigue.

Excess of anything is bad and using your smartphone is no exception to that rule.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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