Next time you are out and about, sitting in a café or having a quiet night in with the family, take a look around you at all the people using their smart phones and tablet computers. How are they holding the device and positioning their body? Many will be tilting their head forward curving their shoulders and therefore increasing pressure at the cervical spine…it may not bother them today or tomorrow, but a year (or more) of cumulative use may add up to some serious neck and back discomfort and pain.
However, there are some great benefits to using a tablet, especially for those who spend the day sitting (slouching!) at their desk and PC causing fatigue in the postural muscles of the spine, hips and abdomen. One of the benefits of the tablet is that it can be used lying down or in a semi-reclined position or even standing up therefore allowing for more movement and better engagement of the body muscles.
Here are some tips to help you remain friends with your tablet:
- Use it for less than 20 minutes at a time, less than this if you are already a sufferer of neck, upper back, shoulder or arm problems
- Use stands or prop the tablet up so that you avoid gripping it. Gripping can cause problems in the forearm as well as causing you to bend your neck forward. If you do need to hold it try to keep the wrist straight.
- Only use the onscreen keyboard for short messages, for anything longer use an external keyboard or PC
- Alternate between the left and right hands for navigation and holding
- When reading think about your posture. Lean back rather than forward to avoid strain on the neck.
- Hold the device at eye level don’t look down to it
- Don’t forget the children – they will watch and learn. Not only will they think it is acceptable to use phones and tablets for long periods if you do, but they will also observe your posture and without realising may adopt a similar posture leading them to suffer as well in the future.
If you are a seasoned phone or tablet user, if you find yourself rubbing your shoulders or neck after a long day or if you are noticing more pronounced aches and pains we may be able to help.
At Alive for Life we use computerised posture analysis to help identify areas of your spine that are experiencing postural stress and will devise a care plan incorporating ergonomic and postural advice tailored for you.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you.