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New health hazard: BlackBerry Thumb

I think that every time I've written about the BlackBerry, I've made some comment about thumb injuries. Partly that's because it's an easy swipe, but it's also because I'm an RSI (repetitive strain injury) sufferer myself.

It took 16 years of typing, along with about 12 years of videogames, for my wrists to develop serious problems, and seven years for me to find a therapist who was willing to work with me so that I'd be pain-free (as opposed to the many doctors who were only too keen to operate).

Still, I've noticed that with each new major (addictive) technological trend, we get a fresh set of dire warnings that are pretty much the same as the previous set of dire warnings. In the 1980s it was 'joystick elbow' from arcade games and home consoles; in the 1990s it was wrist, neck and back problems from extended computer use. Now we have thumb problems brought on by too much texting and too much BlackBerry use.

The result is a new name for the injury – BlackBerry Thumb – and a pair of articles from Reuters and USA Today, both citing Cornell University's Alan Hedge, explaining about it at length. In many ways, the articles are pretty much the same as those written about earlier ailments, with the usual conclusions that (a) people are working too hard, and (b) please, please, please just take a break once in a while!

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