How To Text Message And Avoid Sore
Thumbs, Neck And Hands
While it is well known that excessive text
messaging can result in sore thumbs, less is known about its possible
effects on the neck, arms and hands. Young adults with symptoms in
these parts of the body use a different technique when texting,
according to a study at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of
Ergonomist Ewa Gustafsson studied mobile
phone habits among 56 young adults who text message on a daily basis.
Half of the subjects reported problems with the neck, arms or hands,
while the other half had no such symptoms.
'Considering how much we use the small
mobile phone keypads, it is important that we learn how they affect our
bodies. We need to identify factors related to mobile phone usage that
may affect our health and ability to work', says Gustafsson.
Her thesis shows that mobile phone users
with neck, arm or hand symptoms tend to use their mobile phones
differently than seen in a healthy control group.
'Those with symptoms more often text
messaged hunched over. Just like when using a computer, such posture
should be avoided', says Gustafsson.
Subjects with neck, arm or hand problems
tended to use one thumb to text instead of two. The one thumb was
therefore used with a higher speed and was given fewer breaks.
'It was fascinating to see how fast some
individuals could use their thumbs and still find the right letters.
Those with symptoms should use both thumbs to reduce the stress on
their hands, but these individuals instead use the single-thumb
technique to a larger extent than those without problems', says
There were also differences in terms of work
technique, thumb movements and muscular activity. The thumb movements
were assessed with a so-called electrogoniometer, and the muscular
activity was analysed through electromyography (using electrodes to
measure electrical activity in muscles).
Gustafsson also interviewed 25 young adults
who use mobile phones and computers extensively to communicate.
'These people use the technology as a tool
to be and act in the present, to be social, effective and independent
with almost unlimited possibilities. But there are also risks. Those
interviewed related health risks to long-term usage, bad work posture
and reduced physical activity', says Gustafsson.
Ergonomically correct text
- Don't sit in the same position for a long
time; instead try to vary your position.
- Use the chair'sbackrest.
- Relieve your forearms by resting them
against a desk or your thighs.
- Use both thumbs.
- Avoid hunching over for a long
- Give your thumbs a break when typing long
- Don't type too fast.
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