Monday, April 23, 2007
Thumbing your way to arthritis
"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocios! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious."
Even though my fingers ached just thinking about it, I did try texting the phrase on my alphanumeric keypad. I gave up after two minutes. I would have easily lost to Morgan who thumbed her way to victory and $25,000. (Full Story)
As Morgan rejoices in her keypad domination, I realize I'm beginning to pay a higher price for all those years of clicking away - first on Atari, then Nintendo, Sega, remote controls, and most recently my best friend, the Blackberry.
It's unofficially called Blackberry thumb. It's an ache and pain, sometimes throbbing in your thumbs. Officially, the diagnosis is tendonitis or inflammation of the tendons. The thumb, with one fewer joint than the rest of the fingers, is more sensitive to stress than the four other jointed fingers. Just as carpal tunnel syndrome sidelined keyboard users and forced some of them into braces, thousands of Blackberry and PDA users are showing up in orthopedists' offices around the country.
So why is it that Morgan isn't feeling the pressure, and my weary digits are feeling the pinch? Young people are at lower risk because their joints are still filled with fluid. Dr. Keith Raskin of New York University says that the elderly or people with a history of arthritis or tendonitis are at higher risk for Blackberry thumb.
Although I'm far from qualifying as elderly, I asked for a few tips on avoiding the ailment. Raskin suggests typing with the wrists in a neutral position with the thumbs resting freely without stress. He also says there is good news: "If patients reduce the workload, the symptoms will resolve."
So between videogames, texting and "Blackberrying," is this next generation facing a lifetime of Blackberry thumb? Do you text as a regular way to communicate? Why text over calling? Have you had any texting-related ailments? Is it changing the way we interact--for better or worse?
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