From WhatsApp to WhatsAche

- My journey to hell (mis)using “Smartphones”.

Let’s get over the disclaimers first. The heading for this post is for the exact same purpose you thought it is for, “ Grabbing your attention”. But this story has to be shared before more people fall prey to this epidemic. To put it in simple words, constant usage of Smartphones is ruining our body postures and therefore our health.

Don’t get me wrong. I am an unabashed WhatsApp fan and; if my memory serves me right, for about an year now I would have spent about 2 hours a day just WhatsApping. Both business and personal. Then something snapped in my body. Last six weeks have been pure hell. Firstly it was my left hand that started aching and movement became tough. Then it was my right hand and then (right now) my neck, between C3 and C4–6 vertebra.

As some of us often do, I come from that breed of humans who have this cocky sense of “ I don’t take medicines” and also happen to be a die hard running enthusiast. As a long distance runner, I let my body give me signs of what’s wrong and then let the body only decide what could be done to make it right. So when the left hand started paining, the self analytic monkey kicked in and after about a week of analysis discovered that it had something to do with me using my left hand (more specifically my left thumb) all day long for reading and browsing on my “smartphone”.

Cockiness leaves you slowly; if atall, so i was determined to continue my smartphone usage believing that if i switch sides, the body will adjust to the imbalance. It surely did, but what it switched was the pain. So the right hand went to the same state as the left hand previously. As i write this post, the pain has reached my neck and i am now in this state of denial where you want to let mother nature take over but don’t want to accept that the problem was there all the time for you to see.

Along this journey of pain(i am getting much better now), here is what i have learnt:

  1. Usage of smartphones IS destroying our physical postures and health.
  2. This problem is immune to age. I predict, backaches to become pretty common among smartphone using population, from teens to older people.
  3. Try and keep your neck straight while reading on the phone.
  4. Try and use as many fingers while typing and not have just one thumb do all the work. I found holding the phone with one hand and using the other hand’s fingers to do some work to be more ergonomic.
  5. If you are a heavy duty user of phones, someone who is hunched over the small screen all day long, your road to back pain is already underway. So stop (moderate is a better word) your usage before body gives you a wake-up call.

Do share it with your loved ones and people you care.