NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Back away from the BlackBerry.

Mobile texting devices may be a great tool for your business or social life – but they could be harmful to your thumbs, and the latest warning from doctors advises against overdoing the high-tech communication.

When you start to feel those aches and pains, it’s time to put the phone down, medical experts say.

“BlackBerry Thumb” as it’s being called by many, may be the newest excuse for employees to call in sick to their boss.

It may sound a bit extreme, but it’s exactly what Deanna Katsaros had to do this week when the texting ailment forced her to slow down her work as a mortgage banker.

“I’m texted out,” she said.

Katsaros said she spends 12 hours a day on her phone, texting and talking.

“This is my lifeline and my business,” Katsaros said.

She had to get an operation this week to remove tendons in her thumb – a result, said her doctor, of too much texting.

“I asked him, went over my day with him,” she said. “He said ‘Absolutely,’ it’s from texting.”

“You start developing some pain, you know it’s time to step back,” said Dr. John Taras of the Philadelpia Hand Center at Jefferson.

But Katsaros can’t wait to get back to texting again. For now, she’s doing what she can.

Doctors advise that if you’re a texting addict, there are some steps you should take as soon as you start to notice symptoms, which will probably start out as a tingling or numbness at first.

“If you’re developing symptoms, don’t try to just to work through it,” said Dr. Taras.

If you don’t get medical attention, the problem will just persist and possibly get worse, they warn.

But if you must send lots of text messages, make sure to stretch out your arms, shoulders and hands. Also try placing your device on a hard surface on your lap, and not typing for more than three minutes at a time.

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