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Posted: Monday, 18 November 2013 6:29AM

Modern marvels may make you a tech wreck

Think all our electronic gizmos and gadgets are a pain in the neck? You may be right.

Some of those modern marvels may be responsible for migraines.

Dr. Olivia Lee, LSU Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon, says staring at that little screen all day could make you a victim of a sort of 'cybersickness'.

"People can get headaches and nausea from looking at a small screen for too long at a near distance, or looking at moving objects for an extended period of time," says Dr. Lee.

She says it's somewhat akin to motion sickness, with dizziness and fatigue.

"Certainly, people can suffer fatigue from being in one position and sedentary for a long time."

And, she says being hunched over a hand-held device all day can cause posture problems.

"Folks who already have neck and back problems, who aren't very active, who don't do a lot of other exercise and postural training or strengthening, might be more prone to develop some of the neck and back pain issues."

So, that hunchback you're developing might really be your cell phone's fault.

And, she says it's not all that uncommon.

"People can get really caught up in some of these gadgets and not realize that they've been in the same position for an extended amount of time or they're doing repetitive motions with their thumbs or fingers, leading to some pain issues."

Some orthopedists say 'Texting thumb' (tendinitis) is on the rise, giving it other names like 'BlackBerry thumb,' 'Nintendoitis,' and 'injurwii'.

"Any kind of repetitive motion like that can cause irritation of the tendon if people are really spending numerous hours on these gadgets," Lee says. "An overworked  tendon, or any kind of joint can lead to irritation."

"In sort of common sense medicine, we often recommend that people who do repetitive type motions or are in one position for a long time, get up and stretch...move their muscles around, get into different positions, and just try to keep their bodies as they were designed to be...to be active and mobile."
"There are people who might be more prone to some of these injuries. And, it's something they have to be aware of. If they're getting more headaches after playing a certain game, they have to take more frequent breaks, look out to the horizon, and rest their eyes. If they notice they're sitting in a certain position for an extended amount of time with their necks down, focused on their phone, and that's causing them difficulties...they might have to think about using a different device or having a different set up when they're doing these games or their mobile activities."

"The most important thing is that we are mostly active," says Lee. "We were meant to be hunter/gatherers, not iPhone texters."


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