Mo Therapy

Preventing Phone Overuse Injuries

Phone overuse injuries occurs when your muscles, tendons, or nerves sustain damage due to frequent and repetitive movements while using your mobile device.
Overusing any type of motion or movement — from practicing an instrument or typing on your phone, can lead to these types of injuries.

While these injuries are typically associated with athletes or workplace environments, our phones can do as much damage and shouldn’t be underestimated. In this blog, we’ll explore how our phone overuse injuries, the types of injuries that can occur, and explore preventative measures to mitigate the risks of these kinds of injuries.

In the technological world that we live in today, people can spend up to 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. With this information, the risk of overuse injuries are a lot higher for an individual with a smartphone. You may think it’s just simple scrolling or that you’re casually sending work emails, but recognizing repetitive strains and taking preventative measures can make a significant difference in our overall well-being.

Common Types of Phone Overuse Injuries
1. Text Neck

Text neck refers to a repetitive stress injury to the neck that’s resulted from excessive strain on the neck from looking down or putting your head in a forward position for a long period of time. This can happen from using any handheld mobile device and can lead to headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Some symptoms include a sharp pain in the neck and shoulders, stiffness and tightness in the neck, or constant headaches.

To avoid text neck:

  1. Use your phone at eye level instead of below your head.
  2. Shift positions every few minutes
  3. Take breaks from your mobile device every 15-20 minutes
  4. Take time to stretch your neck and shoulders
2. Texter’s Thumb

Texter’s thumb is an overuse injury that causes inflammation of the tendon in the thumb. This can be a result of texting often or playing video games. Some symptoms of texter’s thumb are thumb pain to the wrist, triggering or “popping” of the thumb, cramping, and weakness of your hands and thumbs. Texter’s thumb can lead to stiffness and can eventually lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

To avoid texter’s thumb:

  1. Limit your texting or gaming, or any movement that requires a repetitive use of your thumb in general
  2. Shift the position of your hands, including rotating between your hands
  3. Take breaks from your mobile device or gaming system every 15-20 minutes
  4. Take time to stretch your hands and arms
3. Selfie Elbow

Selfie elbow is an overuse injury that results from overextending your arm while gripping your phone. This motion is usually associated with taking selfies, or watching videos on your phone. In this uncomfortable position, your elbow is stiff with your arm fully extended and your wrist is twisted. With your phone, it adds weight and further increases the strain. This kind of movement causes inflammation from your hand to your elbow, which can result in tendonitis.

To avoid selfie elbow:

  1. Watch your form, and keep your shoulders relaxed with your elbows close to your body
  2. Switch arms if needed
  3. Take breaks from your mobile device
  4. Take time to stretch your hands and arms

As simple as it sounds, using our phones can have much more significant risks than we think. Using our mobile devices absentmindedly will potentially increase the risk of facing these overuse injuries. It’s important to keep preventative measures in mind, such as stretching and taking breaks, when we’re using our phones, computers, and gaming systems.

Here at M.O., we believe your health and wellness come first. 
Your M.O. is your hustle. Do it pain free.
Learn more about our treatments here