Many people are experiencing pain in the thumbs and hand due to the proliferation of PDAs and text messaging. The term "Blackberry thumb" has been coined by the media and medical professionals to describe this phenomenon. This typically creates pain at the base or in the muscles of the thumb or wrist.
The thumbs are not made to do such repetitive tasks in such a small area. Repetitive use of thumb wheels (the navigation wheel on the side of many of these devices) also is a culprit.
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Alternate between your index finger and thumb to input data.
- Keep thumb wheel use to a minimum.
- Alternate with a stylus if possible.
- When using a stylus alternate how you hold it.
- Only return urgent emails on the PDA, leave all non-urgent emails to be returned once you return to your computer.
- Use key shortcuts and abbreviations.
- Enter all contact info (phone numbers, etc) on your computer and synchronize the devices to transfer the data to the PDA.
- When you can, turn it off!! If you have it with you all the time you are more likely to over use it.
- Plug in a mini-keyboard made for PDA use.
- Maintain an upright posture while texting. Avoid bending your head down and rounding your shoulders.