Cellphone texting injuries rising, therapist says
Cellphone texting is an increasingly popular method for communicating, but it is also causing a growing number of injuries.
Carl Tricky, a massage therapist in Saint John, said he has a growing list of clients who have been injured by their phones.
"What we're talking about is a repetitive strain injury and that strain is caused by overuse of the thumbs and people are seeing an impact on their quality of life," he said.
"It interferes with their ability to do a lot of things because we use our hands a lot during the day."
Text message volumes have been doubling every year since text messaging was introduced in 2002, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
Trissa Mills, who prefers to text than talk on the phone, isn't worried about her five- to10-hour-per-week habit. She's been texting for a few years "to socialize, making plans, or what have you" and hasn't had any problems.
"No, never. I don't think I'm that extreme yet. Hopefully I don't get that extreme. My hands don't bother me," she said.
Stacey McCarthy said she uses her BlackBerry for texting for work "quite a bit."
"To have a quick meeting or to get a hold of someone who's in one of our other offices across the country, it's often quicker to send a quick text message to see if they're at their desk or available," she said.
Although McCarthy hasn't suffered any injuries, she said her husband, nieces and nephews have all had sore thumbs.
"I think it's something they've kind of accepted as part of texting," McCarthy said.
It can cause inflamed joints, nerve damage, and severe pain for both youth and adults, he said.
"One of my clients had to be off work for five weeks and really just needed to rest his hands," he said.
Another client, he's been seeing every couple of months for about two-and-a-half years.
Stretching, strength training and taking breaks may help to prevent damage, said Tricky.
But once someone has an injury, that patient will be more prone to getting injured again, he said.
Tricky expects smart phone companies will eventually design better phones and alternatives.
Until then, he recommends people eliminate, or at least limit their texting and go back to using their phones to make calls to protect their health.