Exploratory Study to Determine the Prevalence of Pain Associated with Use of a Cellular Phone (Text Messaging)

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Jaime Sand


Excessive and improper utilization of the most widely used mobile data service, also known as text messaging, is becoming a growing problem nationwide. As text messaging becomes increasingly popular, tapping, flicking, and clicking have spawned a variety of hand-related aliments such as BlackBerry thumb, “trigger thumb,” De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, and Carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive-strain injuries are the most common side effects of text messaging usage (Avitzur, 2009), causing damage to tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues (Ciavaglia, 2008). Symptoms and risk factors from text messaging might include: numbness and tingling of the palm side of the thumb and fingers with the exception of the little finger, wrist and hand muscle weakness (Avitzur, 2009), inflammation, neck and shoulder strain, tension headaches, (Ciavaglia, 2008), head, neck, and arm pain (How to Text Message and Avoid Pain, 2009), defects in the development of one’s musculoskeletal structure (Gustafsson, Johnson, & Hagberg, 2008) and sore thumbs (The Healthy Ways of Text Messaging, n.d.). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of pain associated with the use of cellular phone text messaging. This study was conducted using a survey, created through Qualtrics, administered to all Boise State University students/faculty/staff via the participant’s BSU e-mail address. Based on the results, further study in this area might occur, with possible research in the field of prevention techniques for text messaging pains. This study was approved by the Boise State Human Subjects Research and Institutional Review Board # 193-SB10-046

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