For most of us, using a cell phone has become second nature. We use it for phone calls, text messages, emails, and apps. Many of us have used them in the car, standing in line, on public transport, and even in bed before sleeping. And while it feels natural to use our phones in all these settings, our use comes at the cost of our physical well-being and posture.
Using our cell phones improperly can lead to what physical therapists are calling "tech neck".
This strain is caused by your head tilting forward for long periods of time. The greater the tilt, the more stress is put on your neck and spine, which can lead to back pains, headaches, and even wear and tear on your spine. The repetitive stress on your spine can also lead to poor posture.
As physical therapist Dawn Cox notes, using our cell phones in this way daily might not feel painful, until an accident occurs. After an accident, the pain from straining to look at a screen can become more pronounced. To keep your body in the best shape, she recommends that everyone start with better posture techniques with or without the phone.
So what's the best way to hold a smartphone without hurting your posture? Here are Dawn Cox's tips:
- When sitting while using your phone, make sure you sit up with your back against the chair, instead of slouching or sitting on the edge of the seat. This will add greater back support. When holding your phone, keep it at a comfortable level to your eyes without greatly tilting your head.
- When standing, keep your hips aligned with your shoulders, instead of leaning them forward. Again, hold your phone up for minimal head tilting.
- If laying in bed or on a couch, make sure your head rests comfortably on your pillow. Instead of propping your head up to tilt down at a screen, move your phone or tablet towards your chest, resting your arms on a pillow. This way, your neck won't feel strained.
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