ROSCOMMON, Ireland — A 34-year-old woman from Ireland has developed chronic shoulder pain so severe that it prevents her from even sleeping. What’s causing the issue? She believes it’s her phone.
Michelle Waldron has sought emergency medical care 10 times for this issue, yet painkillers have proven ineffective. Now, she is considering Botox injections as a potential solution to alleviate the pain, which has become so debilitating that it hinders her ability to complete simple daily tasks.
Before noticing the pain, Michelle estimates she spent approximately four hours each day using her phone.
“I can’t sleep in a bed, I can only sleep in my chair – it’s too painful in the bed, and I just can’t sleep,” Waldron says in an online video post.
“It just happened overnight – I went to bed fine and woke up in agony. I was scared because the level of pain is quite severe. It’s an awful thing, it’s quite sharp and deep. I can’t cook, clean, or do household duties anymore, and if I’m holding things in my hand, they just fall out of my hand. Chronic pain is an illness – you hear about these things, but you never expect them to happen to you.”
Michelle recalls that her problems began in December 2022 when she woke up one morning with severe pain. Being snowed in at her house, she found herself using her phone more than usual for entertainment, spending three to four hours daily on the device.
Since then, the pain has progressively worsened, evolving from a tingling and throbbing sensation to stiffness and numbness, extending down her arm to her hand. Despite consulting pain specialists and chiropractors, and undergoing acupuncture and steroid injections, Michelle continues to suffer from pain. Her pain specialist has confirmed that the discomfort could be attributed to extensive texting and phone usage.
Michelle has spent approximately $1,130 on various treatments, including visits to pain specialists and chiropractors, and for steroid injections. She plans to try Botox injections in her shoulder, hoping it will relax the muscles and alleviate the pain.
To mitigate the issue, she now uses a mobile phone stylus. Michelle aims to raise awareness about this problem and warns others, sharing that she has felt embarrassed and isolated due to her condition.
“I want to isolate myself. I don’t want to be around people at all. I just want to be on my own, so it’s lonely,” Michelle says. “It’s embarrassing, and it takes a toll on your mental health. The financial cost and emotional experience are not worth it. It’s just severe pain, and I don’t want to be bothering doctors who are already busy.”
“I’ve been struggling to get appointments, hospitals are so overwhelmed – you feel like giving up hope. My advice is don’t be on your phone as much, take frequent breaks, go outside and exercise, do something more fulfilling than being on your phone.”
South West News Service writer Josie Adnitt contributed to this report.