Everyone knows it is bad news when thumbs are playing tiny keyboards behind the wheel, but other societal pains are now surfacing from chronic texting – namely carpal tunnel syndrome in teens. Ouch! That compulsion to get a rush from staying connected could prove an addiction more risky than good old pot or chocolate. Who knew?
Perhaps the mom of a 16-year-old Illinois girl named Annie Levitz, who was recently diagnosed with the nerve compression ailment by a rheumatologist who found the constant texting was causing the teen to lose her grip. The syndrome can cause tingling, burning and itching numbness in the effected area, which often is the palm of the hand from poor computer keyboards or other factors. Speedy texting demands great dexterity of the fingers and thumbs and obviously can take its toll.
Dr. Sofia Aksentijevich says the problem she found in her young patient is typical in pregnant women due to swelling, but a case like Levitz is unusual. Still, many fear it is the first in a pending epidemic because of the constant need for teens – and society as a whole – to exchange messages. Levitz’s mom says her daughter sends some 65 messages a day, averaging 2,000 a month, but now she has learned her lesson and is slowing down. One reason is the pain and inconvenience of having to sport wrist braces until she heals. The other is the negative press. She says she has been branded “Carpal Tunnel Girl” at Adlai Stevenson High School.