Mobile devices are certainly convenient, and we are using them increasingly. In fact, with the emergence of the Internet of Things, Strategy Analytics forecasts that the average number of devices per consumer will rise to 4.3 by 2020.
The downside of smart phones, tablets, e-readers, and wearables is that we often use them in positions that put excessive stress on our bodies. Here are three ways that we are straining ourselves while using our technology, resulting in back and neck pain.
1. Texting slouch
What it looks like: When you strike this pose, your neck is bent forward, and the phone is near your groin.
How it causes neck pain: Research published in Surgical Technology International revealed that tilting your head forward toward your device can amplify the weight maintained by your cervical spine 500%.
“Plus, what we’re doing isn’t a nice, smooth head tilt,” says Rhode Island physical therapist Michelle Collie. Be aware that holding your body in a hunched position will accelerate degeneration of your spine.
Remedy: The main issue with text neck is that the individual is not holding the device high enough to be able to look at it from a strong postural stance. Raise it to the level of your chest so that you can see the whole screen without tilting your neck at all.
2. Laptop hunch
What it looks like: You are on a sofa, the laptop is in your lap, your legs are crossed, and you are (again) bending over top of the screen.
How it causes back pain: This posture compromises the lumbar discs of your lower spine, according to Dalhousie University kinesiologist Janice Moreside, PhD. “Holding this position can cause the disks in your lower back to bulge backward,” she notes, “which could eventually lead to issues like a herniated disk.”
Remedy: Shift the laptop from your lap onto a table. If there isn’t a table nearby, use a pillow to prop up the laptop. The key is to get higher: instead of bending your neck forward, you want to bring the device up toward the ideal, ergonomic line of sight.
3. Tablet leg-rest
What it looks like: You are lying in bed with the tablet leaning against your thighs.
How it causes back pain: Tablets just aren’t ergonomically friendly, notes Collie. Harvard University study revealed there was more curvature of the neck when people used tablets rather than PCs.
Remedy: If you want to continue to lie on the bed, your best bet is to roll over onto your side and prop the tablet up against a pillow. Flip over if you get uncomfortable.
Treating pain from mobile devices
Are you in pain from using mobile devices or for any other reason? At Arkansas Pioneer, our integrated, all natural solutions include chiropractic care, spinal decompression, and shockwave therapy – all of which are focused on treating the root cause of your condition. Get a free consultation.