After ‘texting thumb’ and ‘text neck’, it’s the ‘selfie elbow’ that is making headlines these days. It may sound ridiculous to some but ‘selfie elbow’ is actually a new tech related medical condition that has become a cause of concern for avid selfie takers across the globe. The condition was discovered after NBC journalist Hoda Kotb developed a pain in her elbow. When she contacted her orthopedist, he asked if she plays tennis or ping-pong. It turned out that the pain was due to her habit of taking a lot of selfies. Koth’s Instagram feed has a plenty of celebrity selfies alongside photos of her with family and fans. And this love for selfies landed her with severe pain in the elbow.Also read:National Selfie Day: 5 selfies that broke the internet, one picture at a timePainful loveDoctors say that ‘selfie elbow’ is much like tennis elbow – a kind of tendinitis – more common in people related to sports. “The repeated movement of the elbow in extreme posture while taking selfies causes ache in the elbow,” says Dr Kamal Bachani, senior consultant, Orthopaedics, Vimhans PrimaMed Super Speciality hospital, New Delhi. This is also called an overuse injury. While taking selfies, one holds the mobile phone for several minutes in strenuous posture, which can cause trauma to the muscles and tendons in the elbow. “You keep the elbow straight or slightly bent in a forceful manner. And you continue to do so until you capture the image of your choice. This leads to abnormal strain on the tendons and ligaments of the elbow, which further leads to inflammation and acute or chronic pain in the elbow,” says Dr Bachani.advertisementOveruse of musclesThe tech driven injuries or pain due to the repetitive nature of the tasks have become more common nowadays. Just like sitting for long hours in the same position can land you with back ache, overuse of your joints while texting, typing and taking selfies is going to give you aches as well. “When you do the same repeated movement over and over again – add to this the tricky, agonising postures – your body starts to complain,” says Dr Bachani. Too much stress on the muscle, it’s going to have painful consequences. Selfie elbow is one more addition to the long list of medical conditions caused due to overuse of technology, especially among teens. Texting, tweeting, gaming and taking selfies make them more prone to aches and injuries than ever before. “Human body is not designed to put in such abnormal, extreme postures,” says Dr Bachani. Experts warn that over a period of decades, overuse of the fingers and thumbs can cause osteo-arthritis as the cartilage degenerates between the joints.The addictionThanks to selfie-loving celebs like Kim Kardashian and her penchant for poutperfect pictures – and the growing craze for social media – taking selfies has turned into an addiction. The number of likes a selfie fetches on social media has become detrimental to one’s happiness. According to experts, fussing too much over selfies or being obsessed about it also points out to an underlying psychological problem. Today, a selfie is an ‘identity statement’ – which also gives an instant boost to one’s selfesteem. “One could be seeking attention and acceptance through selfies. For some it’s a way to overcome their inferiority complex. If you look at the pattern, it is the ‘likes’ that dominate the selfie trend. And these likes can trigger addiction in the long run, making the person psychologically vulnerable. Over a period, it takes the shape of an irresistible urge to click and show off,” says Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, Imago – Centre for Self, New Delhi, ” Slowly, one starts comparing his or her self-worth by the number of likes one gets on his or her selfie.”Take it easyAlso read:Selfie-obsessed: 5 sure-shot ways of telling if you’re a narcissistLuckily, it’s easy to treat the ‘selfie elbow’ condition with some ice, rest and anti-inflammation pills. In fact, there are a number of exercises and stretches that help prevent your muscles from strain caused by the tech related activities. Regular shoulder and wrist rolls can be done anytime to relax the muscles. But the selfie stick might not be of any help as you are still extending your arm out to use the stick. “Holding your phone with both hands or switching arms might help. But the best way is not take so many selfies if you want a pain free movement of the muscles,” says Dr Bachani.advertisementThe addiction to selfies, however, demands conscious efforts. “You need to separate the ‘likes’ and ‘social media’ from selfies, which will help you resist the urge of taking selfie at all occasions. This will cause a little discomfort initially but you need to apply a little mindfulness here. Let the moment and the urge pass. Deep breathing and visualisation techniques can also help,” says Sharma. Simply put, if it hurts the body you need to stop it. Ditch the selfie and switch to the old and easy style of creating memories – ask a friend to click!Common tech driven achesNeck painWhile working on laptop or using iPads or mobile, the neck remains really low in order to look on the screen and it also over stretches that leads to stiffness and pain.Carpal tunnel syndromeThe medial nerve in the wrist gets compressed due to overuse of wrist while you are typing or using mouse. Repetitive movements such as typing can cause inflammation and swelling of a tendon, typically in the wrist.Lower back painThe most common of all, wrong posture. Sitting for long hours on your desk can seriously harm your back muscles.Texting thumbIt’s also known as De Quervain Tenosynovitis and gamer’s thumb, it is a painful inflammation of tendons in the thumb that extend to the wrist. Overuse of space bar and even working with mouse cause it.Stiff shoulderConstantly looking at the monitor in a hunch posture leads to pain in the shoulders.
- Elbow pain? You probably have the selfie elbow. Know the cure and causes