Bad news, selfie lovers: You now have one more thing to worry about. On top of choosing the right filter and getting just the right angle, you now have to worry about your health. That's right: Medical professionals are starting to talk about "selfie elbow," and it's no joke. But what is selfie elbow, exactly? Can selfies really damage my health? Is technology getting to the point where it's leaving a seriously lasting impact on our bodies?
The term "selfie elbow" comes from the position in which you hold your arm to take a selfie. You know, when you have your phone in one hand and you hold up arm straight out and upwards, so it's above your head? This position be hard on your elbows if you do it over and over, especially if you're holding your arm in it for a long time while you snap multiple photos. If you ever start to feel soreness or strain in your elbow area as you're taking selfies, or even after you're already done snapping your photos, it's likely an indication that you've overdone it a little — that is, it's a sign of selfie elbow.
But all is not lost! According to Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery who spoke to Cosmopolitan on the subject, selfie elbow is totally treatable; indeed, the condition isn't unlike another common health complaint. Explains Dr. Metzl, "You get tennis elbow from playing too much tennis — or having poor form — and you get selfie elbow from taking too many selfies." This makes a lot of sense — no matter what activity you're doing, if you're putting your body under some kind of stress or strain repeatedly, it's going leave an impression at some point.
Dr. Metzl goes on to note, "You put too much stress on the muscle and it irritates the area where the muscle comes off the bone and you get this inflammatory response." So what's the suggested treatment? Alternate your arms! This lightens the burden on the elbow that is acting up. You can also take an Advil or Motrin for the inflammation, along with the usual stretching and ice when it comes to soreness.
Other possible solutions involve — brace yourself — getting a selfie stick. Sure, people make fun of them all the time, and yes, you'll want to be mindful of places where selfie sticks are frowned upon or banned outright; however, if you're really a selfie fanatic, it's better to save your elbows and risk having a stranger roll their eyes at you, right? Selfie sticks can also offer opportunities to try out new angles and poses.... or, you know, you could just have someone else take the picture. That works, too.