Helpful Tips to Alleviate Neck and Back Pain Caused by Mobile Phone and Tablet Usage

As we all know, cell phones and electronic tables are a staple of modern life. We use them for shopping, online banking, food delivery, keeping up with the news, and numerous other things. While cell phones and tablets have certainly made many things easier to accomplish and perhaps let us get more things done in a day, there is definitiely a physical toll that can occur in the way that we use our phones and tablets.

For one thing, cell phones can lead to poor posture and many times can cause shoulder or neck pain. Posture is a critical component of one's physical health, as research demonstrates that correct upright generally causes one to feel more alert and confident. To that end, proper optimal posture is when the body can move in any direction and stay in a position with the least amount of effort. Tilting your head 30 degrees to look down at your phone - which many people do - can cause the neck and spine to carry an extra 40 pounds, which can easily strain the neck and back ligaments. As a result, this can cause people to spend a lot of money on treatment for neck pain due to poor posture.

To help avoid or minimize this impact on posture, it is recommended that cell phone users carry their device at chest height, keep their chest open and shoulder blades back, and simply move eyes down to look at phone or tablet. In addition, if reading on a tablet or cell phone for extended periods of time, it is important that the neck and shoulders not stay in one position for a long period of time. As such, you should take frequent breaks and move your heard from side to side.

Finally, when sitting, it is crucial that the neck and back are vertical and that the back is fully supported by the chair. You can use a small pillow if needed. Hips should be even or a bit above the knees, and feet should be flat on the floor or a footrest. And if using a computer or tablet, hands, wrists, and forearms should be as close to the body as possible.

Just following a few of these tips can significantly improve one's posture and perhaps minimize or avoid neck and back pain.  

Lila Crowson MPT Lila completed her Masters of Physical Therapy at LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans. She has been a licensed Physical Therapist since 2001 and currently oversees and manages a talented team of therapists and technicians at the Orthopedic Center.

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