A nation of 'texters'
Research from Ofcom has found that the average UK consumer sends 50 texts per week, more than double that of four years ago, with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011. Additionally, they found that another ninety minutes per week is spent accessing social networking sites and e-mail, or using a mobile to access the internet. For the first time fewer phone calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones.
There are potential impacts of this change in behaviour as we own and use more and more
communication devices and gadgets.
There is no doubt technology has changed our lives for the better but research*, commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), revealed the potential impact of the incorrect use of gadgets on our health. Almost a quarter (24%) of the nation complained of back, neck or shoulder pain whilst using or carrying gadgets and almost a third of the nation (29%) typically carried two or more items of technology a day with them.
Tim Hutchful, from the British Chiropractic Association says: “There is no doubt that technology plays a significant role in our daily lives, however the knock-on effect is that we now carry more gadgets around with us and spend more of our time peering into small screens. It is important that we recognise the potential impact on our bodies and learn to lessen the impact on pressure points with some simple steps."
“BCA chiropractors recognise that text messaging regularly, over a long period of time, could cause repetitive strain which may cause both short and long term injuries. The British Chiropractic Association recommends that the following exercises should be done before and after text messaging (and between individual messages if you’re texting continuously over a long period)"
1. Shoulder shrug
Shrug your shoulders towards your ears. Hold for 2/3 seconds, then relax. Repeat 3 times. Because it’s easier to relax a muscle after you’ve tightened it, you will relax the muscles in the shoulder, and allow the blood to flow into the arm.
2. Make a fist
Hold the arm at right angles from the elbow. Make a fist and tense it, and the whole of your arm. Hold for 2/3 seconds, then relax and let the arm flop to your side. Repeat 3 times. This will help the blood flow and tone the muscles.
3. Wrist stretch
Stretch the wrist backwards, hold for 2/3 seconds, then stretch it forwards and hold for 2/3 seconds. Repeat 3 times. When you are texting, you tilt your thumbs towards your wrists, so straining the tendons. This exercise prevents a tightening of the wrists.
4. Finger spread
Spread the fingers as wide apart as you can, hold for 2/3 seconds, then bunch them into a fist and hold for 2/3 seconds. Repeat 3 times. This will keep your fingers and thumbs supple and mobile.
5. Neck muscle stretch
Texting usually involves looking down at the phone which means the head is held unsupported, so it is helpful to the neck muscles to sit relaxed with the shoulders supported and to ‘retract’ the chin – try to make a double chin, to stretch the muscles at the base of the neck. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds and repeat 3 times. Always stretch very slowly.
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2034 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th -21st September 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).