It seems that almost everyone these days owns a smartphone. Whether it be for work, personal use or study most of us engage in high daily usage with our smart devices, so much so that we probably couldn't imagine our life without them. But unfortunately, the way we use these smartphones has led to an increase in posture-related physical injuries in persons of all ages.
In the past, these back and neck type injuries were mainly found in those middle-aged and older who had a long history in labour or office type work. Whilst it wasn't unheard that younger people experienced back and neck pains, these were usually categorised by growth spurts and body changes rather than technology-related injury.
This is because, now more than ever, we are spending prolonged periods of time in stationary positions that emphasize poor posture. Though it's nothing to be ashamed of! These devices can provide hours of entertainment that allow us to easily lose track of time and can place us into positions where we do not have appropriate neck and back support. In a result, while we may feel relaxed when using this technology, we are actually placing excess stress on our joints and muscles. If the pains we feel are not addressed early, they could lead to further injury.
What are the most common pains?
Neck and Shoulder pains
Wrist and Forearm pain
Thumb and Finger Injuries
How can I prevent these pains and injuries?
Fortunately, there are many things that we can all do to prevent pain, particularly in the neck and back. Some healthy habits include;
Changing your position regularly- Shifting between sitting, standing and lying down is a great way to ensure that you aren't putting too much stress on your muscles and joints. We recommend changing positions at least every 20 minutes.
Stretch before, during and after using your smart device- its important to take some time out to stretch your muscles, especially after long periods of being stationary.
Try to avoid looking down as this places a strong strain on the neck, upper back and shoulders. Try to hold your device at eye-line, or in a position that prevents you from tilting too far forward. Although it sounds difficult, this can be best achieved from reclining back or making use of a table where you rest on your elbows.
Avoid placing your smartphone or tablet on your lap as this also results in a forward head posture.
Try as much as possible to keep your hand grip relaxed. I recommend using a case or device which has a stand or leaning your device on some books.