I Love My Smart Phone, But Does It Love My Neck? (Texting and other technology-based threats to my health.)

By On July 13, 2015 · 1 Comment

Over the many decades, computers have become the scapegoat of the world of movement, blamed for many chronic textingaches and pains, thanks to the horrid posture one assumes while using one of these inventions: shifting the head forward, rounding the shoulders, shortening the hip flexors, etc.

With this in mind, I was very happy to find that I can do almost anything on my smart phone, taking me away from my spine-damaging computer. But alas, I am not safe! Technology continues to take its toll on our spines by means of our beloved little smart phones! Let’s discuss how we can use our phones AND love our spines!

Texting Neck

The problem:

As we tilt our head to look down at our phones, we increase the pressure on our cervical spine, aka our neck. By the time we tilt our head 45 degrees forward, we have an extra 60 pounds of pressure on our neck. While this amazing structure can take that pressure for brief moments, our neck and all its bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves were not designed to remain in this position for hours on end. Unfortunately, Texting Neck is appearing in great numbers in teenagers, setting them up for a lifetime of pain and poor function.

The solution:

Give the phone—and your neck—a break! As simple as it may sound, try using the phone less. When you do need to use it, try holding it up to eye level. Take frequent breaks to allow your neck to find level again rather than remaining tilted forward for long periods of time.

Blackberry Thumb

The problem:

The Blackberry certainly has received a lot of blame that belongs to all smart phones, so don’t think you need a Blackberry to develop Blackberry Thumb. This condition occurs when the tendons of the thumb and wrist are strained from overuse, often due to texting or other smart phone uses. The thumb is designed mainly for stability as opposed to its more dexterous neighbors. However, we demand a lot of flexibility and movement from the thumb when we use it endlessly to tap away on our phones. The resulting strain to the misused tendons and muscles of the hand can cause dysfunction and pain.

The solution:

Holding your phone in both hands and using both thumbs is an improvement to holding your phone with one hand and using one thumb, but that grip will not completely solve the problem. Using your pointer finger rather than your thumb is an even better improvement. Utilizing a tablet, which will require your pointer finger rather than your thumb to do most of the work while also requiring larger, healthier motions of the entire hand, will improve the condition even more so. However, beware: none of these adjustments will stop the previously discussed Texting Neck.

Take a break! Stand tall!

PRstudio&Headshots09 221Do not keep your ear to your shoulder as it pins your increasingly thinning smart phone. The neck will strain. As mentioned in my previous blogs, inactivity in itself is dangerous. Watch the clock when you sit at your computer, tablet, and/or phone. At least once an hour, get up, walk, and stretch your hips, chest, and shoulders.

Do you now have plans to throw away your phones and tablets? I doubt it, and there is no need to do so. Utilize the tips here for better ergonomics to care for your body while you utilize these fascinating, ubiquitous machines. And do not forget to get away from them for a little while regularly…perhaps when you check into your favorite local studio in Studio City and/or Porter Ranch for some healthy movement and Me-time!

One Response

  • Lora Anderson July 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm · Reply

    I need to give my Iphone a break for sure!!! Thanks for the tips and reminder 🙂

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