Consumer Reports: How to prevent aches, pains caused by cell phone use – WLS-TV

Cell phones are a necessity in our lives, but the convenience of constant connectivity could be causing you physical pain. Consumer Reports looks into some aches and pains that may be caused by your cell phone.

Art Nelson developed tendonitis in his thumbs. It was so uncomfortable he starting seeing a physical therapist. The cause of his pain? Texting on his cell phone.

“I was surprised but not shocked by that because I thought back and I said, ‘Yeah, I do use my phone a lot,'” Nelson said.

Consumer Reports Medical Director Dr. Orly Avitzur said as cell-phone use is on the rise, so are injuries related to their use.

“Texting or using a cell phone, sometimes we overuse our hands and wrists as well. That causes a receptive-stress injury,” Avitzur said.

Tendonitis isn’t the only real injury that you can get from using your cell phone improperly. Neck pain, or “tech neck,” comes from bending your head down to look at your phone, putting excess stress on your neck.

If you have shooting pain down your backside and legs, it might be sciatica from stashing your cell phone in your back pocket and putting pressure on your sciatic nerve when you sit.

“The good news is most of these injuries are easily preventable just by modifying the way you use your cell phone,” Avitzur said.

Reduce your risk of developing tech neck by holding your phone at eye level. To prevent sciatica, don’t carry your phone in your back pocket.

To cut the pain from tendonitis? Art’s physical therapist gave him this advice.

“Being mindful of not using my thumbs as much with the texting. Sometimes I’ll use my pointer finger a little bit more,” Nelson said.

Consumer Reports also suggests using a hands-free device, a speaker phone or FaceTime whenever possible to reduce the hand stress caused by typing on your phone.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org

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