What are the Health Risks of Smartphones

With each day, comes a new technology- this is the norm of the day! Well, no doubt, technology has made our life easier but the fact remains that we need to pay a high price for the same. No, it’s not just the monetary cost; it is also our health that is on stake. Smartphones come with lots of useful features and interesting apps that make them hard to resist. They have made our lives so comfortable that we can’t even imagine it without a smartphone now. But it is important to use the Smartphone wisely; else we will end up with one or more health issues. What are these health risks related to smartphones? Let’s find out.

Health Risks of Mobile Phones and other Smart Wireless Devices

Smartphones are the cause of Text Neck

Now a commonly used term by the physicians, text neck is one of the modern spine disease, thanks to our smartphones. When you look down at wireless devices like your smartphones, laptops, Ipads etc. for longer periods, you get chronic headache, upper back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain etc. Your spine also curves abnormally. The reason for this is simple. There is no stress on the neck if the head is in an upright position. But to read a text or to browse on the smartphones, you need to bend your neck to an angle of sixty degrees which eventually increases the pressure on your neck and leads to what is known as Text neck and Anterior Head Syndrome.


What to do?

Always hold your phones at eye level. Habits can be made with practice and you can do so. Do some neck exercises also so that the muscles there get strengthened.


Smart Devices lead to Text Claw and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Too much of Smartphone usage may cause inflammation and enhance the already existing issues like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You may also suffer from text claw if you have this habit of over texting. Not only texting, too much of typing and browsing can also give you a text claw. It is the soreness and cramping in your fingers, wrist and forearm. Wrist pain, aching, numbness, and lack of strength in your hand make it difficult for you to conduct your small tasks. It may then give rise to tendinitis that can be understood as the breakdown of soft tissue surrounding the muscle and bones. If you have thumb pain and have to give breaks to your thumb occasionally while using your smartphone, you might already be suffering from text claw.

What to do?

Touch your smartphone keypad lightly, don’t grip your phone too hard and maintain a good posture because neck muscles are connected to your thumb muscles. If you use your iPad, iPhone, or other hand-held smart devices excessively, make this habit of taking rest for few moments in between. You can also use wrist braces to support the area and alleviate the pain. Certain wrist exercises daily may also help you relieve pain and protect you from getting text claw and carpel tunnel syndrome.

Your mobile phone gives you Cell Phone Elbow

Your Smartphone can also lead to Cell Phone Elbow that is a result of bending the elbow for longer duration of time. How do you get cell phone elbow? Here’s the answer:

When you hold your mobile phone for longer periods, the ulnar nerve which extends from underneath the elbow get stretched. This nerve controls your ring and little finger.
Due to stretching for a long time, the blood supply gets restricted to this nerve and you may experience numbness or tingling in the little and ring fingers.
The more you bend your arms, the more the nerve stretches and restricts further blood supply. This condition is known as cubital tunnel syndrome and if it gets severe, you may need a surgery.

What to do?

Give your phone and elbow some rest. Don’t indulge in long talks over your mobile phone.

Smartphones can lead to damaged eyes and even blindness

Spending hours on your Smartphone whether you are gaming or reading and typing texts, can lead to dry eyes, dizziness and even blurred vision. Blurred vision when combined with sore neck can also give you headaches. But what is more concerning is that the blue violet light of smartphones has been categorized as hazardous and toxic to the back of the eyes.  Many studies have found that excessive exposure to this blue-violet light can put a person at a greater risk of macular degeneration which is a leading cause of blindness. The other side effects of this blue-violet light include disrupted sleep patterns and mood swings.

What to do?

Blink enough when looking at your smartphone and don’t bring it too close to your eyes. Looking away from the mobile screen every few minutes will also be of great help.


No-mobile-phone-phobia- Nomophobia

Nomophobia, as it is commonly referred to, is the fear that affects many people about losing their Smartphones at any point of time. Some common symptoms of this problem include obsessive checking to ensure that you still retain your phone, anxiety for the fact that you have lost your phone or cannot use it, constant worry that you might lose your phone etc.  If you feel anxious about losing your mobile phone, losing the network reception, or a dead mobile phone battery, or you take your phone to the bathroom with you, think about it- are you suffering from Nomophobia!

What to do?

Start helping yourself today by switching off your phone for short periods. Do this multiple times a day. Engage yourself in real activities like sports rather than virtual mobile phone games.  Read books, watch movies (not on your smartphone though!), go out, make friends, sleep a little more, exercise! In short, do everything that doesn’t require a smartphone.

Kids have highest risks due to mobile radiations 

According to a recent studies, children and unborn babies face greater health risks due to the radiation given off by wireless devices. The brain tissues of children are more absorbent than adults, their skulls are thinner, and their size is smaller. As such, they can absorb more radiation coming out of such devices.

What to do?

Keep your smartphones and wireless devices away from your children. Hold the phone at least 6 inches away from their ear if they have to speak with someone using mobile phone. Nursing mothers should not use mobile phones when feeding their babies.

Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome

There are many Smartphone users, especially the younger people who experience phantom vibrations even when their phones are not vibrating. The students who are dependent on the social media updates and texts feel anxious when their phones do not vibrate.

What to do?

You may like to set your phone to a stronger vibration so that you don’t have to worry about missing any call or text. But the better way is to change your attitude. Even if you miss a call or two, the life is not going to change. You can always call back. You can always reply to a text a little later!

Cyber sickness 

Also called virtual reality sickness, the symptoms of cybersickness are similar to motion sickness. You can suffer from this cybersickness when exposed to a virtual environment like the one created by your smartphone or other such smart devices. You may feel eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, vertigo, imbalance, vomiting, and dizziness. The main cause behind cybersickness is imbalance in sensory perceptions. Visually you perceive yourself to be moving but actually you are not moving. The condition gets worse when frame rates and display resolutions increase on your smart devices.

What to do?

Change your phone’s settings according to your needs. With change in each setting, you will ultimately know which screen resolution and frame rates don’t give rise to cybersickness. Also, do not look at your phone continuously. Look at the horizon for a few moments regularly.

These were the major health problems that you might experience if you are addicted to using your Smartphones for a longer duration. If you want to break this routine and lead a healthier life, then you must reconsider your smartphone usage pattern. Instead of carrying it in your hand or pockets, keep your smartphone in your bag or backpack and resist yourself from checking your bag after every few minutes! After all, life is so much more than just a smartphone! Why put yourself at health risks caused by smartphones!

Here are some more tips to minimize the health risks of mobile phones

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