Learn the dangers of texting while doing this
Most people know that texting and driving is a big no-no. But what about texting and walking?
While it might be hard to believe, thousands of people are injured every year in the United States while walking and texting, and the numbers continue to rise.
A 2010 study estimated that 1,500 pedestrians were treated in U.S. emergency rooms that year for injuries related to cell phone use. Another study showed that people that text as they walk are 60 percent more likely veer into harm’s way.
And now, 20 years of national ER data reveals more than 75,000 cell phone-related injuries, two-thirds of which were to the head, neck and face.
Texting can cause serious and long-term injuries
Cuts and bruises are the typical injuries. However, Dr. Thomas Albert, an internist with Aurora Health Care, says he’s seen broken wrists, shoulders and hips suffered by people distracted by their phones.
“Most people that come in with these injuries aren’t embarrassed. They just don’t realize the toll that using phones can take on their body,” says Dr. Albert.
Smartphones are also causing chronic injuries to more young people than ever. Several common issues are a change in neck posture and sloped shoulders, which usually take decades to develop.
“It’s a tsunami of degenerative diseases that we’re already seeing,” says Dr. Albert. “I am very concerned about this next generation. I now have patients in their late teens and twenties that have developed postures that we used to only see in people in their 60s and 70s.”
Tips to text and use your phone injury-free
Of course, cell phones and handheld devices are here to stay and becoming even more integral in our daily lives. Dr. Albert says these injuries are treatable and preventable and recommends these tips to help you feel fully charged while using your phone:
- Don’t text and drive
- Don’t text and walk, if possible
- Avoid distractions to stay safe while using your device
- Stay aware of your surroundings by not bringing your phone up to your face
- Use your eyes to look down at your phone without tilting your head
- Whenever using your phone for an extended period, be sure to take small breaks and do some simple neck, back and shoulder stretches to keep good posture and keep joints and muscles from locking up.
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.