Arthritis timebomb warning for the under 40s - experts

The 'pain after texting' phenomenon isn't just occurring in adults, as children have been found to develop joint and wrist pains. Photo / iStock
The 'pain after texting' phenomenon isn't just occurring in adults, as children have been found to develop joint and wrist pains. Photo / iStock

Fifty years or older is usually the average age bracket for developing arthritis, but now experts say the bar has been lowered.

Hand surgeon Dr. Mark Ciaglia told FOX5 that he is seeing more patients 40 years old and younger dealing with the painful inflammation and stiffness in their joints.

And it is the 23 hours adults spend texting and the seven hours children are gaming each day that are dooming our generation to develop arthritis, warns experts.

"With the advent of texting and video games and excessive use of computers and typing you're wearing the joints out sooner so we're actually seeing a shift in the demographics of patients that get the arthritis because they're just wearing their joints out so much sooner," Ciaglia, who works at Woodlands Center for Specialty Surgery in Texas, said.

Experts have said that developing arthritis from texting, emailing and playing games has to do with the continuous motion of your fingers, combined with poor posture.

Together they put a lot of strain on joints, tendons and muscles - creating a recipe for painful inflammation and stiff joints.

"At the end of the day it's a wear and tear how many times are you moving a joint back and forth where the cartilage that covers the bone within the joint," said Ciaglia.

"The more things you do and the more aggressive you are with it the sooner you will develop this."

Ciaglia understands that it is impossible for us to stop moving our fingers, but says "all good things in moderation" and it is helpful not to do it eight, nine or 10 hours straight during the day.

The "pain after texting" phenomenon isn't just occurring in adults, as children have been found to develop joint and wrist pains.

Surveys have revealed the average teenager now sends some 3,340 text message a month - that is about 50 a day.

Dr. Robert Wysocki, hand,wrist and elbow surgeon at Rush University Medical Center, has also noticed that problems with joints and tendons are increasing or worsening after repetitive smartphone or computer use.

"What people call 'texting thumb' is not a clearly defined condition, but it usually refers to one of two things," Wysocki said.

The first is called "trigger thumb", which is the constriction of a flexor tendon in the thumb that is formed from repetitive gripping motions - holding your phone or texting.

If you have thumb pain or stiffness that seems to worsen with use of a smartphone, Wysocki recommends changing the way you use the device.

For example, hold your phone with the hand you use less frequently or type messages with your index finger to give your thumbs a rest.

Tips for avoiding arthritis from gaming, texting and emailing from the experts

• Limit texting to short messages.
• "For a long message or a conversation, a phone call is actually a lot easier," advises.
• Always use good posture, no matter what the activity.
• Take frequent breaks from gaming or texting.
• "The best advice is to break up texting or gaming into shorter sessions," explained Nanavati.
• During those breaks, walk around, stretch, and shake out your wrists.
• Avoid tension in your neck and shoulders.
• Avoid keeping your wrists in a bent position for long periods of time.

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 May 2017 21:22:50 Processing Time: 537ms