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You’re constantly grabbing your smartphone to check the weather, watch videos, read the news, check in with family, text friends, play games and look things up.

But you may not realize that staying connected involves repetitive motions that can take a toll on several parts of your body. In fact, repetitive strain injuries associated with talking, texting and swiping on mobile devices are on the rise.

Orthopedic surgeon Peter J. Evans, MD, PhD, often sees these injuries in his practice. We asked him what you should know about the risks of cell phone overuse. Breaking injuries into three main types, he offers tips on prevention and treatment.

1. Cell phone elbow

If you spend a lot of time chatting on your phone, you may develop cell phone elbow, called cubital tunnel syndrome.

This repetitive strain injury stems from holding your elbow at an extreme angle for long periods of time, as you do when holding your phone to your ear. This compresses the ulnar nerve, which travels from your neck to your hand.

Signs of cubital tunnel syndrome include tingling, numbness, burning or aching in the forearm, and the small and ring fingers of the hand.

Dr. Evans recommends using a headset instead of holding your phone to your ear when talking on the phone, or switching hands frequently.

2. Texting thumb

Although texting on most smartphones is faster with your thumbs, our thumbs aren’t really very limber. Heavy texting with your thumbs can cause fine tears in your muscles and tendons, creating inflammation that causes swelling and stiffness.

Try varying your texting style, Dr. Evans suggests. Using your index fingers might slow you down, but it will give your thumbs a break.

Or consider using voice-to-text instead of your fingers. You can also try an external keyboard for extended text conversations if you’re not communicating on the go.

3. Neck, back and shoulder pain

All that time spent looking downward at your cell phone or tablet can cause problems with your neck and upper back. Keeping your head bent for hours each day can lead to pain, muscle spasms and stiffness in your neck, upper back and shoulders.

Some studies even suggest it may lead to early arthritis in the neck.

Dr. Evans advises keeping your mobile devices as close to eye level as you can to help relieve neck strain.

Pay attention to your body

If you notice tingling, numbness or pain in your hands, arms or neck, pay attention to how you hold your phone and how you’re bending your neck to view it.

The first step in preventing repetitive strain injuries is simple, says Dr. Evans. Once you pinpoint the problem, stop whatever it is you’re doing to cause the injury. Or if you can’t stop, at least reduce how often you do it.  Taking physical and mental breaks from talking, texting and browsing online will do you good.

Remember RICE

If you suspect your pain is related to mobile device use, you can start treating it with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). This first-aid strategy involves:

  • Resting the part of your body that’s hurting.
  • Applying an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
  • Compression, such as using a brace, for support.
  • Elevating the injured area above heart level, when possible, to help decrease swelling.

If your pain persists beyond a week or two, talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe medication or physical therapy to help relieve pain and repair the damage.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/03/obsessed-with-your-smartphone-5-tips-help-avoid-elbow-thumb-and-neck-pain/

You’re constantly grabbing your smartphone to check the weather, watch videos, read the news, check in with family, text friends, play games and look things up.

But you may not realize that staying connected involves repetitive motions that can take a toll on several parts of your body. In fact, repetitive strain injuries associated with talking, texting and swiping on mobile devices are on the rise.

Orthopedic surgeon Peter J. Evans, MD, PhD, often sees these injuries in his practice. We asked him what you should know about the risks of cell phone overuse. Breaking injuries into three main types, he offers tips on prevention and treatment.

1. Cell phone elbow

If you spend a lot of time chatting on your phone, you may develop cell phone elbow, called cubital tunnel syndrome.

This repetitive strain injury stems from holding your elbow at an extreme angle for long periods of time, as you do when holding your phone to your ear. This compresses the ulnar nerve, which travels from your neck to your hand.

Signs of cubital tunnel syndrome include tingling, numbness, burning or aching in the forearm, and the small and ring fingers of the hand.

Dr. Evans recommends using a headset instead of holding your phone to your ear when talking on the phone, or switching hands frequently.

2. Texting thumb

Although texting on most smartphones is faster with your thumbs, our thumbs aren’t really very limber. Heavy texting with your thumbs can cause fine tears in your muscles and tendons, creating inflammation that causes swelling and stiffness.

Try varying your texting style, Dr. Evans suggests. Using your index fingers might slow you down, but it will give your thumbs a break.

Or consider using voice-to-text instead of your fingers. You can also try an external keyboard for extended text conversations if you’re not communicating on the go.

3. Neck, back and shoulder pain

All that time spent looking downward at your cell phone or tablet can cause problems with your neck and upper back. Keeping your head bent for hours each day can lead to pain, muscle spasms and stiffness in your neck, upper back and shoulders.

Some studies even suggest it may lead to early arthritis in the neck.

Dr. Evans advises keeping your mobile devices as close to eye level as you can to help relieve neck strain.

Pay attention to your body

If you notice tingling, numbness or pain in your hands, arms or neck, pay attention to how you hold your phone and how you’re bending your neck to view it.

The first step in preventing repetitive strain injuries is simple, says Dr. Evans. Once you pinpoint the problem, stop whatever it is you’re doing to cause the injury. Or if you can’t stop, at least reduce how often you do it.  Taking physical and mental breaks from talking, texting and browsing online will do you good.

Remember RICE

If you suspect your pain is related to mobile device use, you can start treating it with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). This first-aid strategy involves:

  • Resting the part of your body that’s hurting.
  • Applying an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
  • Compression, such as using a brace, for support.
  • Elevating the injured area above heart level, when possible, to help decrease swelling.

If your pain persists beyond a week or two, talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe medication or physical therapy to help relieve pain and repair the damage.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/03/obsessed-with-your-smartphone-5-tips-help-avoid-elbow-thumb-and-neck-pain/


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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Thank you very much for contacting Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

To best serve your individual needs, please choose from the following options:

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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