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How Can the Way That People Use Technology Have Negative Health Consequences?

For the most part, technological advancements have traditionally facilitated better medical care. However, it is important to recognize that there are some potentially adverse consequences associated with a variety of developments in how people use technology in their day-to-day lives. Here are some important considerations about how staying too plugged in can carry some notable health risks that providers need to be conscientious about.

Orthopedic Conditions

The ergonomic implications of spending all day behind a desk are not lost on orthopedic physicians, but they are well outside of most people’s contemplation. While passive activities have generally been considered to be low-risk in terms of occupational hazards, the ramifications of poor ergonomics in a tech-driven environment can be significant.

Many individuals perpetuate poor postures and strained motions long after their workdays end. In fact, “tech neck” is an increasingly common condition in which people cause spinal misalignments in their cervical vertebrae from continually craning their neck down to look at their phones. To counter the pain associated with this type of work, individuals can seek out injection therapy treatment or get help from a chiropractor Hattiesburg MS.

To prevent pain from returning, however, people who experience these tech-induced afflictions need to get to the root of the problem by remedying the behaviors that are causing harm to the spine. Of course, this is easier said than done because the motions become habitual for most people. Occupational therapy geared towards correcting how people physically handle different interfaces to use technology for both professional and personal applications can be advantageous in resetting the brain’s habitual patterns.

Sleep Cycle Disruptions

Insomnia is a growing problem among an overworked and overstressed population. Not getting the requisite amount of rest can have widespread effects on individual health and wellness. Immunity, neurological activity, and digestive processes are all put at a disadvantage when people forgo the rest that these vital functions require.

Overexposure to blue light can cause or exacerbate insomnia, and this phenomenon has been found to be prevalent in school-aged children in addition to working adults. Artificial light disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm which regulates melatonin production as the sun rises and sets. This naturally occurring rhythm that is driven by external influences gives the body internal cues about when it’s time for sleep and time to wake.

Some limited interruption of this rhythm with regular light is unlikely to have a big impact on people’s sleep cycles. Light emitted by a screen, however, is especially stimulating to the neuroreceptors that are involved in regulating melatonin production. limiting use of electronic devices at least two hours prior to turning in can reduce the effect. Also, special glasses that filter out blue light can alleviate the problem and also mitigate eye strain or fatigue.

Armchair Diagnosis Pitfalls

Access to seemingly limitless informational resources about health is fantastic for promoting awareness about the importance of preventive care and healthy living. The abundance of information about medical topics online also fosters better awareness about specific conditions. Putting concerns on people’s radars can prompt better screening and engagement with primary care physicians. At the same time, however, people’s natural curiosity about what’s happening in their own bodies can invite some investigative research which fails to give people the information that they need. For some people, a cursory review of symptoms or questions may actually serve as a substitute for checking in with their primary care physicians. Resultantly, they may miss out on key screening measures that facilitate early detection of progressive conditions.

People need to be wary about putting too much stock into their independent research about health concerns. Trying to self-diagnose may make them too dismissive about potentially serious issues or could conversely incite them to panic about a condition that they don’t have and aren’t even symptomatic of having. In particular, people should limit their medical research to sources that convey credibility. In all instances in which a person searches for answers to a medical query online, they should heed directives about when to consult with a physician.

Ultimately, both individuals and medical professionals need to be mindful about how technology can help or compromise health. Identifying issues and asking the right questions about how activities impact health can facilitate better patient outcomes.


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