Next time you take a bus trip to work or you are waiting to see the doctor, look around you. Most people will be using their phones; checking e-mail, reading the news, using the internet and playing games. The common posture one would adopt would be hunched over, hands down, neck bent forward and shoulders rounded. This posture puts an enormous load on your neck and upper back causing them to ache and fatigue. These poor postures can lead to pain, muscle spasm, joint stiffness and weakness. Sitting up straight will seem like an effort once you have adapted to these postures.
We see many patients that have neck and back pain and while using their phones might not be the primary cause, it is often a contributing factor.
Here are a few ideas to improve your posture while using your phone.
Sit back. Ensure that your lower back is touching and supported by the back of the chair. Raise your chest so that it is not hunched forward.
Bring your arms up so that you can keep your neck straight rather than looking down. To support your arms, tuck your daypack or workbag under your elbows or use one arm to support the other by hugging your waist and rest your elbow on it. This will support your arms and shoulders better and allow you to look forward while looking at your phone rather than looking down.
If you are standing, stand with your feet apart, raise your chest and elbows. Bring your phone closer to eye level rather than looking down.
Take a break every 10 minutes.
Give this a try and see if you feel less achy by the time you get home after a long day at work. You could consult one of our physiotherapists if you need more input or if you need manual therapy to release those sore muscles or even some exercise advice to strengthen weak postural muscles.