Body Sense

Summer 2012

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Is the Convenience of Mobile Devices Worth the Pain? Addressing "Smartphone Thumb" and "Text Neck" Syndrome By Jeffrey A. Semancik regarding the thickening of the dorsal compartment, or backside, of the wrist on the thumb side as a result of repetitive motion and friction of the tendons that attach to the thumb. The repetitive overuse disorder was first christened "De Quervain's tenosynovitis," but has since come to be known by many other names, including "Washer Woman's Sprain" and "Mother's Wrist/Thumb." The disorder reappeared in the 1980s as a result of video games, putting a younger generation at risk for repetitive thumb movements. Most recently, it has become known by a new name that reflects the current trends of society—"Smartphone Thumb." De Quervain's tenosynovitis presents symptoms including pain and fatigue T in the hands and wrist due to prolonged ulnar deviation (bending the wrist toward the thumb side), and repetitive flexion and extension movements of the thumb. Repeating these motions causes the muscles of the thumb to be elongated or stretched against the styloid process of the radius, resulting in friction and wear. Continuous flexion and extension of the thumb (such as texting) causes overuse and strain of the smaller thumb muscles and some forearm muscles. General fatigue and soreness in the hands and wrist is one of the first signs of De Quervain's tenosynovitis. Pressure and tenderness at the "snuff box"—the area at the side of the wrist on the thumb side—is also a sign. TEXT NECK SYNDROME Although Smartphone Thumb may not be breaking news in today's society, we are now seeing the same trend used to give another old disorder a new glitzy name: "Text Neck Syndrome." The underlying condition of Text Neck Syndrome has been around for years. Before mobile communications were prevalent, it was associated with spending hours in front of a computer. Before computers, it was reading or writing. Although this syndrome has historically been associated with older clientele, it is now affecting a new, younger audience. Mobile technologies are allowing society to take the workplace wherever they go; unfortunately, proper ergonomics do not always follow. Visit a bookstore, coffee house, or Internet cafe, and you will see people typing away on their hroughout history, some diseases and disorders appear, disappear, and come back repackaged with a new name. In 1895, Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain published case reports Body Sense 9

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