You wake up in the morning, and check your phone for messages/mails which you may have received during the night. Over breakfast, you read some news articles, some of which may have been shared in your WatsApp groups and are just plain dubious. On the way to work, you are hunched over your cell-phone just reading any and everything. Your surroundings don’t make much of a difference to you. You’re anyway checking out Instagram pictures and thinking about your next vacation.
Once you’re in office, whenever you take breaks or whenever work pressure is low, you’re back to your phone – messaging/reading/not particularly doing anything. Once you’re back home, you continue to check your phone intermittently. Before going off to sleep, you again crane your head in an awkward position, and still try to do something or the other on the phone. Finally, you put it away, wake up after 8 hrs or so, and get back to the same routine. What’s alarming is that if your cellphone usage is at the level I’ve described, you’re probably just normal. Yes, people are on their phones for more than 5-6 hours a day. I mean you just need to go out of your house to see zombies walking past hunched over on their phones.
What is “Occipital Neuralgia”
Any case, the reason I bring up “Occipital Neuralgia” is because we are very likely to get it if we use our phones continuously. The term sounds ominous, and it describes a condition in which the nerve endings at the back of our heads get inflamed and eventually damaged. In fact, you know those achy feelings you get in your shoulders and neck at the end of the day? Those could well be precursors to this condition.
Truth be told, its not a life-threatening condition, just a very painful condition. But, who wants to live life in pain anyway? Headaches all the time and aching muscles! Is that last WatsApp forward really worth that? Or, checking out the latest photos of the person you’re recently stalking on Instagram? I don’t think so.
Is there hope for me?
To combat addiction, people usually start coming out with anti-addiction measures. So, you have rehab centers for serious addictions. Recently, I’ve also started hearing about things like internet detox, internet rehab, digital retreat and what-not. Why do we now need to go to rehab to deal with our internet addiction? Have we said goodbye to whatever will-power we once had?
Ultimately, everything is fine in moderation. You don’t really need to throw your phone in the lake and then frantically try to jump back in to fish it out. The key is to reduce your usage. It all comes down to some discipline and also being more aware of the present. Taking regular breaks, exercising and giving your neck a break can do you a lot of good. People did at one point survive without phones. And, you can too. Just be more aware of your usage and try to consciously reduce it when you don’t really need it. Yes, if it’s work-related, you can’t just stop using it. But, a lot of the pointless activities on the phone can be stopped.
Then again, you’re probably reading this on your phone!