Do you find sometimes when you are staring down at your smart phone, Kindle or tablet that your neck starts to feel uncomfortable? So you look up and tilt your neck backwards to ease the pain? This is a sign that you are spending too much time on your mobile device. Let’s be honest, technology has transformed our lives. According to recent studies and research we are spending approximately 5 hours a day either on these devices! After time, this will start to take its toll. Some of you may even be looking down at the screen to read this! If you take a moment, or if you could see yourself in the mirror, you would see what is happening to your posture – your head forward, your back is slumped and your shoulders rounded – some people call this ‘text neck’.
These devices are not going anywhere and us chiropractors know that. So what can you do about the discomfort you experience?
Text neck -
If you are on your smart phone or tablet now, look up! According to an article I recently read, tilting your head forward an additional 15 degrees puts another 27 pounds of stress onto your neck and spine, thus causing discomfort and pain. A 60-degree angle – which is the angle at which most of us look down at our phones – increase the stress by 60 pounds! The easiest way to fix this so called ‘text neck’ is to adjust the way you hold your phone. Instead of holding the phone in your lap bring the screen up to eye level so you are not slouching and your head is looking straight on. If you are using a tablet, consider getting a case which allows you to prop it up on a table in front of you. If you know you are going to be on your phone/tablet for a while consider doing some neck rotations to avoid stiffness – this involves looking gently to the left and right, 10 times on either side. Try to perform these once and hour, every hour, throughout the day.
Poor posture –
When patients have pain related to technology use it is often due to poor posture. Our bodies have an amazing way of getting used to being in certain positions. Our muscle memory tends to come into play and hold us in a comfortable, but not always good, position. We need to break the habits of these muscles to alleviate pain. The problem sometimes comes when you do something out of the ‘norm’, say a gym work out or a run. The muscles will be shocked that they are being bought out of their ‘normal’ position – this can sometimes cause injury. To stop this, do some simple things to help improve your posture and break those bad muscle habits. Ensure your work station is set up correctly – the monitor, chair and desk should be the correct height for you. Your feet should rest flat on the floor and your knees should be at or just below a 90-degree angle to your hips. You may find it hard work to sit up straight – this is proof that your muscles have got into some bad habits! You need to practice every time you sit at your PC. Imagine you have a thread coming from the top of your head, pulling you up towards the ceiling, straightening out your back. The more your practice, the quicker those muscles will re-set in their new, safer, position. Listen to your body.
If you feel any aches and pains, change position.
If you would like to come in and see us and find out how you can improve your posture, call us today on 02380 019099!