Text Messaging Advice from Physiotherapists - Avoid RSI
Physios urge students to improve
their text life
As the popularity of text messaging continues to soar, chartered physiotherapists
are urging teenagers to text safely in order to reduce the risk of developing
painful repetitive strain
injury (RSI). In 2004, 79 million text messages were sent in the UK on the day GCSE
results were announced. As more and more youngsters take up this
form of communication, the use of text messaging is likely to continue
With UK mobile phone users sending 72 million text messages on a typical
day and a forecast of 30 billion texts being sent during 2005, the
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has produced a 5-step programme
text addicts can follow to prevent the onset of text message injury (TMI).
Bronwyn Clifford, of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in
Occupational Health and Ergonomics (ACPOHE), specialises in treating RSI and stated that there are three components
- Duration and
In the case of text messaging it is worth considering how often you repeat the same motion and over
what period of time. If you are doing it for more than 10-15 minutes
at a time, it can lead to problems. In order to avoid pain, Clifford advises:
" Don't spend more than
5-10 minutes at a time text messaging and, if you must stay constantly
to spread the load and use both your fingers and thumbs to text."
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists
to Safe Texting:
Try to support your arms on a chair or table to take the "load" off
the neck and shoulder muscles when texting. Hold the phone up with the
screen facing towards you so you are not having to flex your neck too
much as you look down to view the screen.
Keep your hands close to your body. The weight of a phone may not feel
much, but the load on your arm is significantly increased if the arm
is held out stretched and this action will put strain on your neck and
Break or swap hands regularly, before the onset of any discomfort. Try
to use both hands together when texting to "spread the load".
Also learn to use the predictive text messaging feature on your phone.
This will help reduce the repetitive motion of pressing various keys.
If your hand or forearm feels tense or sore, massage your arm from the
wrist to the elbow.
Carrying out these three exercises:
- Regularly open your fingers and stretch them out.
- Stretch your arm out, rotate your wrist so it is facing upwards and
with your other hand pull your palm down towards the floor to feel a
stretch over the front of your forearm muscles. Hold for 15 seconds and
repeat 2-3 times.
- Stretch your arm out, rotate your wrist so it is facing downwards
and with your other hand pull your hand back towards your wrist to feel
a stretch over the back of your forearm muscles. Hold for 15 seconds
and repeat 2-3 times.
Information from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.