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Physical Side Effects of Texting

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Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 13, 2009

Physical Side Effects of TextingTexting — sending text messages using your mobile phone — is a popular way that young adults and teens prefer to communicate. But it comes at a price.

A new study has discovered that the more someone texts, the more pain they had in their neck and shoulders.

“What we’ve seen so far is very similar to what we see with office workers who’ve spent most of their time at a computer,” said Judith Gold, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the College of Health Professions and Social Work.

“The way the body is positioned for texting — stationary shoulders and back with rapidly moving fingers — is similar to the position for typing on a computer.”

Text messaging is a fairly new technology, Gold says, so this is a new area of research among ergonomists. “But given the similarities in body position, findings from research on overuse injuries from computers could be applicable here,” she said.

Ergonomics researchers are starting to wonder whether it’s putting the younger generation at risk for some overuse injuries. These are injuries that were once reserved for older adults who have spent years in front of a computer.

Current studies on computer use show office workers are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tendonitis.

In Gold’s lab, she and her team use tools like infrared cameras, motion analysis and heart rate monitors to study the body’s position in several job-related simulations. But given the prevalence of text messaging among young adults, Gold wants to delve further into the physiological effects of this latest form of communication.

“Looking around our campus, you see every student on their cell phones, typing away,” she said. “It’s the age group that texts the most, so it’s important to know what the health effects may be to learn whether it will cause long term damage.”

The preliminary research was presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

Source: Temple University

 

APA Reference
NewsEditor, P. (2009). Physical Side Effects of Texting. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/13/physical-side-effects-of-texting/9562.html