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Study Suggests Texting May Be Pain in Neck


Texting has become a major form of communication. It is a nice way to update friends, family, and colleagues – running late, meeting delayed, etc. However, the prevalence of texting has been shown by a new study to increase the risk of neck or shoulder pain.

Judith Gold, ScD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Social Work, presented evidence at this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association linking texting to pain in the neck and shoulder.

Gold and colleagues conducted a study of 138 college students, ages 18 to 21, to see if correlations exist between the number of text messages sent per day and pain in the upper body. Using body maps for students to indicate areas of discomfort and the number of text messages each student sent per day, the found an association between shoulder discomfort and the number of messages punched out. This was true only in male participants.

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The posture for text messaging is one of stationary shoulders and back with rapidly moving fingers, very similar to an office worker at a computer. The researchers were surprised to find more pain in the neck and shoulder rather than the wrists and arms. Gold notes this is a preliminary study and will need to be further researched to confirm.

Current studies on computer have shown office workers are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tendonitis.

To aid in prevention of injury, good posture and intermittent stretching is a good recommendation.

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Temple University’s College of Health