Women, Stop Using Cell Phones IMMEDIATELY!
Over the past year, I have seen countless numbers of articles about RSI’s (a.k.a. repetitive stress injuries) come across my screen. Having been in the field of physical medicine for over 20 years, I can tell you that conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome & pronator teres syndrome, to name a few, are very real and extremely painful conditions for those who are suffering. However, it seems to me that we are seeing more and more ‘overuse’ conditions being crafted that are geared to instill commonality and fear in the masses. For example, this past year has seen a HUGE rise in discussions in what is now referred to as ‘text necking’. Of course you can easily deduce what this entails. Reports state that this is now a ‘growing epidemic in our society’ (FOX News).
Really???? First off, we are talking about Fox News (always consider the source). They have cornered the market on fear mongering tactics to engage their audiences.
I recently watched a report on FOX that added to its text necking segment, that began with, “This will make most woman stop using cell phones IMMEDIATELY.” (More fear mongering, and likely the reason why you continued to read this post)
It goes on to say that we should now all be afraid of ‘HEV’ or ‘High Energy Visual Lighting’. ‘Preliminary’ studies have shown…..
Please save us from ourselves!
If text necking is really a real thing, than why haven’t we seen or heard of problems from as far back as the middle ages when we not only looked down to read everything, but also did so by the means of candlelight? Where was the cry for change back then? By all intent and purposes, we should be a crippled and blind society. Yet, here we are 1000’s of years later.
Are RSI’s real? Yes!
Can they be avoided? Definitely!
Will it require effort? Certainly.
It matters little if you are texting, reading a book, staring at a computer screen or driving a Zamboni. Any prolonged posture can cause any number of potential problems physically, neurologically and even emotionally. The question you need to ask yourself is; what do I do to counter this? All RSI’s are a matter of overuse and repetition. If you do not adapt your lifestyle to counter the negative impact of prolonged exposure to a particular position or movement, you will likely encounter a painful result.
This is where I see so many people fail at addressing this issue. I partially blame my own field of massage therapy for this. A very common reaction to addressing an RSI or perhaps avoiding an RSI is to go out and spend thousands of dollars on fancy desks, cool monitors and ergonomic chairs. I can promise you that if you go out and ‘invest’ in all the high end equipment you can get your hands on, you will still have the potential of suffering from RSI’s, perhaps not the same that you would have suffered with your crappy desk and chair, but none the less, you will still be doing the same repetitive work. If you want to avoid an RSI, the best and most affordable way to this…..will be in next months newsletter…just kidding. The best way to avoid an RSI is to move better. Profound? Not really. Here’s an example.
I recently was in Beaver Creek, Colorado for Christmas. While we were strolling around the village, we saw a skating rink. The entire village was an amazing sight to behold. It was Christmas Eve. The snow was falling heavy and people were laughing, skating and having fun. A bell rang and skaters cleared the ice so the Zamboni could clear the snow. That’s when I saw it. The Zamboni driver was making loops around the ice in a clockwise direction; over and over again. I leaned over to my wife and said, “Do you think if she has back pain, it’s always on her left side?” Michelle laughed immediately because she knows that only I see people for how they move and everything else falls second (she was super cute too). She of course saw exactly what I was referring to, can you?
After she was done, I couldn’t resist walking over and speaking to her. I had to know. I asked her how long she had been driving the Zamboni (5 years). I asked her if she had suffered from any back pain (Yes, on occasion if I don’t stay active). I asked if her pain/tightness was routinely on her left side (Yes…she said with hesitation). I could see that she was now a bit curious or perhaps uncomfortable with a complete stranger making such observations. I explained to her what I did for a living and what I had just observed while she was doing her job. I asked one last question. Is there any reason you can’t Zamboni the ice counter-clockwise? Yes. The seat is on the left side for her to see her way along the edges. I suggested that she spend a certain amount of time stretching out her left side to counter the impact of what she is doing. She said, “I never even considered this the reason why, but that now makes complete sense; Thanks.”
If you want to avoid an RSI, the best thing you can do is to counter the movements. If you are typing all day, take the allotted time to stretch out the muscles that you have been abusing all day. Don’t go out and buy a new gel-padded keyboard. If you’re forced to be sitting all day, don’t spend $2000 on a new chair. Force yourself to get up more frequently or incorporate movements that stretch out those shortened hip flexor and pec muscles, on a daily basis.
So this epidemic of text necking and face melting that is sweeping the globe can be avoid in two simple ways.
Stop watching FOX News
Be more aware of your movement or lack there of and start to incorporate ways to start moving better.
Happy moving in 2016.