New technology is constantly being developed, with one particular aim in mind: to make our lives easier. However, a lot of us are becoming so obsessed with our smartphones and tablets that they are actually harming us rather than improving our day to day lives.
A lot of people have started to suffer with pain in the hand, fingers, shoulders and neck due to the over use of tablets and phones. These injuries have even earned nicknames such as “iPad shoulder” and “iPhone neck”.
These injuries are all actually a form of repetitive strain injuries, or RSI.
How is RSI developed?
You can develop RSI by hunching over your iPad or tablet as if it were a plate, and by using your other arm to play on it with no support.
Usually when you use a computer you have your arm on a desk, whereas when you use a tablet your arm is unsupported as it is suspended in the air.
Signs and symptoms
Severe headaches. These headaches can be due to tension in the back of the neck, aching arms, pain in the wrist and fingers from using them constantly or even a pinched nerve.
A doctor who specialises in RSI says he sees up to 10 new patients a week with these injuries, and believes the sufferers are becoming younger and younger due to iPhones and iPads.
What can RSI lead to?
Ultimately if left untreated, RSI can lead to you being left in a wheelchair. You could suffer with a prolapsed disc, which could put pressure on your spinal cord leaving you incontinent. If you feel the RSI was not a normal circumstance based on holding the device in a certain way, you can always make an accident claim, as many people do so every day!
Think about it, your head weighs 4 or 5 kilograms. If you are constantly dropping your head to look at your iPad screen, you are putting a lot of pressure on your neck. To combat this you need to sit correctly with good posture when using any appliance or gadget. Take regular breaks from using your gadget and look at for the signs and symptoms.
What can I do to relieve my RSI?
There are a few things you can do to relieve your RSI. If you feel you need some extra help, you can visit www.alexander-technique.com and book a session with the professional, starting from £80.
If you are confident enough to try on your own, have a go at some of these methods.
Instead of trying to move your body, think about straightening and lengthening your back and dropping your shoulders. This will allow you to change your posture subconsciously.
You could also place a mirror in front of you while using your phone or tablet to see your position for yourself and to try to realign the way you are sitting.
To help RSI in your hand and fingers, make a fist while leaving your thumb outside. Then, slide your fingers up along the palm until your reach the base of your fingers. Hold this for 10 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 5 times a day everyday to help combat your RSI.