Tech Neck, Text Claw & More: 5 Ways Technology is Hurting our Physicality

Tech is hurting my body? I need tech support.

We’re addicted to our mobile phones. But we need them so much that some of us would rather suffer the physical consequences. We’re also addicted to thumb-smashing on mobile phone games. The use of smartphones and technology has shown a positive correlation to the aches and pains found in humans — a worrying trend.

With terms like tech neck syndrome, eye strain, and text claw becoming norms in medical and societal contexts, it’s pretty evident that the human body isn’t built for the level of smartphone and computer use that we’re putting it through. 

Have you met Mindy? She’s a science-backed 3D model of what a human of 2100 could look like, evolved to adapt to smartphones. 


The horror! Here are some physical toils that you could be bringing upon yourself with excessive smartphone use.

Tech Neck is honestly hard to avoid.

Perhaps the most well-known of the lot, tech neck is when scrolling on your smartphone or looking at a laptop screen causes you to constantly bend your neck. This ends up putting insurmountable pressure on the nape of your neck, causing neck and back pain. Tech neck can also make you look aged, with dark necklines and the appearance of a stooping back.


There’s also a freaky consequence — one in four people between the ages of 18 and 30 has spiky lumps of growth as long as 3 centimetres. The growth helps to support the area where the head meets the neck. To fix this, try keeping your devices at eye level and being wary of bad posture!

Text Claw plagues many of us.

Another smartphone-driven phenomenon, “text claw” is a term that is indicative of repetitive use of the wrist and hand muscles. If you’ve got text claw, you may experience pain, weakness, and even loss of a range of motions in your wrists and hands. 

Mindy angry! Mindy rears tech claw! (

Text claw can also cause and exacerbate more medically recognisable conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. If you’ve been experiencing muscle tightness or pain in your dominant hand’s wrist, you may want to consider taking some recuperative measures. For a start, you can take a break and perform daily stretching motions with your hands. And if you must use your phone, switch to your non-dominant hand once in a while.

Eye Strain affects screen users.

You might be quick to blame an air-conditioned environment for your dry eyes and poor-quality tears. But are you as diligent with eye breaks as you were back in school when there were regular reminders for such breaks? Adult working life could mean you’re staring at your computer the whole day, and then at your phone for comfort. You’re lucky if you’ve never encountered eye strain. 


Some of the effects of eye strain include damage to your vision, a damaged cornea, as well as dry, red or painful eyes. To avoid eye strain on a device-intensive schedule, try to limit blue light and use soft tints instead. Use doctor-recommended eye drops instead of over-the-counter ones and always wear your spectacles if you have any.

Cell Phone Elbow tends to go by unnoticed.

Not many have the privilege of using ergonomic chairs that support their elbows well during extended cell phone usage. As a result of speaking on the phone, or using one for too long, you could suffer from cell phone elbow, medically known as cubital tunnel syndrome, which is a nerve compression syndrome. 

Y Raphah Physiotherapy Clinic

When overly flexed cell phone elbows and sedentary lifestyles come together, our elbows face inflammation, decreased blood flow, and nerve compression. Sometimes, our nerves even begin to ‘short circuit’ in some sense, sending misfired signals and causing numbness, tingling, and aches that some liken to hitting their funny bones. To start correcting this, try to make sure that your elbows are not flexed at an angle that’s greater than 90 degrees, even if they’re supported.

Texting Thumb is a mobile gamer’s weakness.

The sheer intensity that comes from speed tapping on a mobile game cannot be understated. If you’ve done it before, you know how it feels to draw back a tired, relieved thumb and to let that muscle sore ebb away immediately. With that said, it’s not just gamers who are prone to texting thumb. Texting thumb can be caused by constant texting and continuous tapping on your mobile phone. 

Texting thumb aggravates thumb problems like thumb arthritis and trigger thumb, which can cause pain every time you burn your thumb. And if you’re already injured your thumb tendons, your thumb might even swell after smartphone usage, due to the onset of tendonitis. Consider switching it up with your finger usage once in a while.


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