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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
RSI danger from excessive texting
Mobile phone use is on the rise
Too much texting could lead to RSI warn experts
Experts have warned of the dangers of overuse of mobile phones and game consoles in children after a young girl developed repetitive strain injury.

Isabelle Taylor, aged eight from St Anne's, Lancashire noticed pain in her fingers and wrists after sending up to 30 text messages a day.

RSI is normally associated with office workers who spend hours hunched over a computer keyboard.

But the condition is becoming common in children addicted to technology.

Isabelle's mother Jane Taylor, 40, said her daughter was "constantly" texting on her mobile but that it wasn't until she was diagnosed with RSI that the extent of her texting became apparent.

"She got the phone when she was six and she's constantly on it.

ADVICE FROM THE BRITISH CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATION
Support your arm on a chair or table to take the 'load' off the neck and shoulder muscles
Massage your arm from the wrist to the elbow at regular intervals and swap hands regularly
Sit in a neutral upright position - head over shoulders and arms comfortably near the body

"I tried to take it off her but she started sneaking it to school. But then she started complaining about pains in her arms and hands a couple of months ago."

Mrs Taylor has limited Isabelle's texting to 30 minutes before and after school and she is doing exercises to alleviate the condition.

Sending text messages can lead to RSI because mobile phone users tend to hold down their shoulders and upper arms when pressing the buttons, cutting off blood to the forearm.

Technology overload

Dr David Cosgrave, who treated Isabelle said he sees two children a month with RSI from overuse of gadgets.

"A lot of youngsters who operate their Playstations or use their phones a lot can suffer inflammation which can be quite painful in the upper arms and wrists.

"Many times these pains are put down to growing pains when there is actually something else causing it.

Tim Hutchful, from the British Chiropractic Association said that text messaging regularly, over a long period of time, could cause repetitive strain which may cause both short and long term injuries.

"As mobile phone technology develops, mobiles are getting smaller, with buttons closer together. Small, fine movements tend to aggravate more than larger movements - this coupled with the smaller buttons can lead to injury as smaller buttons are harder to activate.

"When you are text messaging, you tend to hold your shoulders and upper arms tense. This cuts down the circulation to the forearm, when in fact it needs a greater than normal blood flow to achieve the fine movements of the thumbs and fingers."

Earlier this year the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy issued guidance for mobile phone users on avoiding injury.

Physiotherapist Bronwyn Clifford who helped develop the guide said: "Excessive texting and prolonged use of the buttons and dials found on an array of modern handheld gadgets, including MP3s, Blackberry devices and portable games consoles, can contribute to hand, wrist and arm problems.

"The small, definite, repetitive movements used to manoeuvre controls on these tiny handsets can begin to cause pain over time.

"The thumb, while good for gripping, is not a very dextrous digit and is particularly susceptible to injury."




SEE ALSO:
The pain of RSI
02 Mar 02 |  Health


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