A new generation of young people are beginning to feel the effects of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome from overuse of their cell phones and video game consoles.
Recent research has definitively demonstrated that repetitive motions in combination with bad posture puts excessive stress on the joints, muscles, and tendons. This added stress is resulting in injuries that many medical professionals typically do not see in a younger population.
This first began to occur with the rise in popularity of BlackBerry devices. The tactile keyboards of the blackberries created a huge boom in mobile messaging that resulted in users contracting repetitive stress injuries.
A 2011 study conducted by the European League Against Rheumatism found that children 9 to 15 years old were developing clinically significant joint pain in their fingers and wrists caused by excessive texting and from playing videogames like Xbox or PlayStation.
Because this is such a recent phenomenon, there has not been much longitudinal research conducted to truly understand the long-term risks associated with the combined effect of cell phone and video game use in the younger populations.
This is a whole new chronic pain population that hasn’t been seen before by pain management professionals. They are presenting with repetitive stress injuries that often include pain in the elbows, wrists, neck, shoulders, hands as well as symptoms of nerve-pain-like numbness, tingling and a depletion of strength.
Perhaps the best advice that can be given to this new population of individuals at risk for chronic pain disorders is to try to take care of their bodies more diligently.
It is especially important to observe good posture. Take breaks from the video game and mobile phone messaging. You will want to avoid eventually requiring Cortizone injections or even surgery to reduce or eliminate the pain of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.