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Spending too much time on your smartphone can significantly increase the chances of pain in various upper body parts even for youngsters, finds a new study published in the Korean Journal of Pain.

The study, led by Rustem Mustafaoglu from Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa, was conducted on 249 university students in the age group of 18-25 years who used a smartphone for multiple purposes. The worst prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was found in the upper back, with nearly 70% respondents reporting it in the one year before the survey.

Nearly a similar number of respondents reported pain in the wrists or hands. Around 66% reported pain in the neck and 57% in the shoulders.

The study also uses a scale to estimate the risk of smartphone addiction. The score on this scale is found to be positively related to the daily duration of smartphone use and the length of time one has owned a smartphone. There is also a positive link with musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulders, hands and upper back.

For example, spending more than six hours in the day time is significantly linked with pain in these body parts. Those who have owned a smartphone for a longer length of time were more likely to face musculoskeletal pain in their hands than others.

Nearly 23% of the respondents who suffered pain in the upper back also said they found it difficult to perform routine work, whether at home or away, for a day or more.

Constant use of smartphones affects one’s posture and can lead to ergonomic disorders, the study says. The authors suggest that long durations of smartphone use should be separated by 20-minute-long breaks, and one should also keep correcting their posture. This can help avoid the harmful impact of smartphones, the authors say.

Also read: The relationship between smartphone addiction and musculoskeletal pain prevalence among young population: a cross-sectional study

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