Texting on mobile phones and musculoskeletal disorders in young adults: A five-year cohort study

Appl Ergon. 2017 Jan;58:208-214. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.06.012. Epub 2016 Jul 6.


The aim was to examine whether texting on a mobile phone is a risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders in the neck and upper extremities in a population of young adults. In a longitudinal population-based cohort study with Swedish young adults (aged 20-24 years) data were collected via a web-based questionnaire at baseline (n = 7092) and after one and five years. Cross-sectional associations were found between text messaging and reported ongoing symptoms in neck and upper extremities (odds ratios, ORs 1.3-2.0). Among symptom-free at baseline prospective associations were only found between text messaging and new cases of reported symptoms in the hand/fingers (OR 2.0) at one year follow up. Among those with symptoms at baseline prospective associations were found between text messaging and maintained pain in neck/upper back (OR 1.6). The results imply mostly short-term effects, and to a lesser extent, long-term effects on musculoskeletal disorders in neck and upper extremities.

Keywords: Neck pain; SMS; Upper extremities.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Paresthesia / epidemiology*
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Text Messaging* / statistics & numerical data
  • Upper Extremity
  • Young Adult