In this issue: Smart ergonomics for smart devices

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Smart ergonomics for smart devices

The average mobile-device user is spending close to three hours each day on their devices. This frequent use of smartphones and tablets is putting users at risk for musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, some of which can cause permanent damage if appropriate body alignment isn’t observed. Those who don’t heed the warning and continue practicing not-so-smart body mechanics are susceptible to head, neck and arm pain; numbness; “texting thumbs;” “text neck” and more.

As healthcare workers, you’re likely no stranger to ergonomics. But the evolution of technology calls for an updated lesson in proper body mechanics. For information you can share with your staff and patients on smart ergonomics for smart-device use, read on.

Ergonomics for texters and tablet users

The constant overuse of fingers and thumbs, plus the chronic poor posture associated with steady mobile-device use can bring on some serious aches and pains. Here are some tips to avoid the text and tablet blues:

  • Proper positioning: Maintaining wrists in a neutral position and avoiding repetition helps keep tendonitis and inflammatory arthritis at bay. The use of a stylus pen helps vary both the position and motion of the wrist while texting.Smartphone or tablet use can cause neck, shoulder and back strain. Hand out logo‘d device stands to keep their head and posture aligned.
  • Take a break: Reducing the amount of time spent on handheld devices or taking frequent breaks to rest wrists, forearms and thumbs can reduce strain and help prevent injury. Those who are unable to break away from their devices may benefit from using voice-activated commands or a keyboard in lieu of a touchscreen.
  • Exercise, ice and beyond: There are numerous exercises and stretches that can alleviate the aches and pains of too much screen time. A hand and wrist exercise guide illustrates multiple stretches and serves as a visual reminder to take a break and stretch. If aches and pains ensue, ice packs help decrease inflammation and discomfort. If all else fails, a brace or splint may be required to take the edge off.

The use of smart technology, such as smartphones and tablets, is not going way. So let’s get smart about how we use these devices. Share these tips with your staff and patients alike—they (and their body) will thank you!

Brustein, Joshua. “We Now Spend More Time Staring at Phones Than TVs.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 08 June 2015.

Khaleeli, Homa. “Text neck: how smartphones are damaging our spines.” Theguardian.com. N.p., 24 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 08 June 2015.

“Ergonomics and ‘Texting Thumbs’.” OTs with Apps and Technology. N.p., 23 Feb. 2013. Web. Retrieved 08 June 2015.

Bharara, Niteesh. “5 Tips To Minimize Pain Associated with ‘Texting Thumb’.” Virginia Spine Institute. N.p., 26 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 08 June 2015.

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