Addressing the Top 3 Musculoskeletal Aches from Technology Overuse

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In today’s digital age, our reliance on technology has grown exponentially. From smartphones to laptops, we’re constantly engaged with devices for work, entertainment, and communication. While technology has undoubtedly improved our lives in many ways, it’s also introduced a new set of challenges, particularly concerning our musculoskeletal health. In this article, we share the top 3 musculoskeletal aches and pains seen by our team of physiotherapists that are caused by the prolonged use of technology.

Top 3 Musculoskeletal Aches Caused by Technology Devices

1) Text Neck Syndrome

technology aches

With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, many individuals find themselves hunched over their devices for hours on end, leading to a condition known as text neck syndrome. Text neck is becoming one of the top musculoskeletal conditions affecting over 50% of adults. This ailment occurs when the neck is consistently flexed forward, placing excessive strain on the cervical spine and surrounding muscles. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and even radiating pain down the arms. To alleviate text neck syndrome, it is essential to practice proper ergonomics when using devices. Encourage patients to hold their devices at eye level, take frequent breaks to stretch and strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles, and consider using supportive pillows or ergonomic accessories. As physiotherapists, we can also provide targeted exercises and manual therapy techniques to relieve tension and improve posture.

Spending prolonged hours sitting at a desk and typing away on a computer can contribute to computer-related shoulder pain. This condition is characterized by stiffness, discomfort, and even sharp pain in the shoulders and upper back. Poor workstation setup, coupled with repetitive movements, can lead to muscle imbalances, joint dysfunction, and ultimately, shoulder dysfunction. To address computer-related shoulder pain, it’s crucial to assess and optimize the patient’s workstation setup. This includes adjusting chair height, desk height, monitor placement, and keyboard position to promote neutral posture and reduce strain on the shoulders. Additionally, incorporating regular shoulder stretches, strengthening exercises, and posture correction techniques can help alleviate aches, discomfort and prevent further injury from technology usage.

3) Tech Thumb or Thumb Tendinitis

As touchscreen devices become increasingly prevalent, conditions like tech thumb, or thumb tendinitis, are on the rise. Constant scrolling, tapping, and swiping can strain the tendons in the thumb, leading to inflammation, pain, and decreased mobility. This condition not only affects avid smartphone users but also individuals who spend extensive time gaming or using handheld devices. To mitigate the effects of technology thumb aches, patients should be encouraged to take frequent breaks and vary their hand movements throughout the day. Additionally, ergonomic accessories such as stylus pens or device grips can help distribute pressure more evenly across the hand and reduce strain on the thumb tendons. Physiotherapy interventions may include manual therapy to address soft tissue restrictions, therapeutic exercises to improve thumb strength and flexibility, and education on proper hand and wrist mechanics.

Seek Physiotherapy Treatment for Technology Overuse Musculoskeletal Aches

In conclusion, while technology has revolutionized the way we live and work, it’s essential to recognize and address the musculoskeletal implications of excessive device usage. By understanding the top three aches and pains associated with technology overuse – text neck syndrome, computer-related shoulder pain, and tech thumb – physiotherapists can play a pivotal role in promoting musculoskeletal health and preventing chronic conditions. Through a combination of ergonomic modifications, therapeutic interventions, and patient education, we can empower individuals to maintain a healthy balance between technology usage and physical well-being. If you are experiencing chronic aches and pain and find yourself adopting bad technology usage habits, book an appointment with our team of physiotherapists!