The advent of digital media has brought along some health conditions. For some years now, we have seen reports involving gamer’s wrist, text neck, Blackberry thumb and iPad hand. What these conditions have in common is that they are all forms of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), adversely affecting our muscles that may be caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks. Recently a new injury was added to the list of tech ache, the selfie elbow.
Symptoms involve inflexibility and twinges from the hand to the elbow, similar to tennis elbow. The question that rises now is whether we should be worried or not. Finoa Moi, Non-Clinical Director of goPhysio says, “Basically if you do the same repeated movement over and over again, your body can start to complain. This is called an overuse injury. Repeated, sustained, small movements - like holding a camera phone in-front of you and taking lots of shots, can cause repeated micro-trauma to the muscles and tendons that you're using. In the case of selfie elbow, this would be to the forearm/wrist muscles”.
However, the initial term was coined on April Fools Day by The University of Minnesota’s Health Talk: "In a study published today in the journal Human Medicine, U of M researchers present data linking a recent rise in elbow injuries to the practice of taking a selfie".
Although the story builds on fictional data, chronic pain risks are real. In 2014, more than 17 million selfies were uploaded to social media on weekly basis. This without counting the amount of selfies that were taken before uploading it. Fortunately, no harmful medical conditions were reported so far, nevertheless it is advisable to keep in mind the somewhat extreme positions we force our bodies into when using these technologies.