Last week I trotted out to our packed waiting room and was astonished to see that every single person was on a mobile device. All six of them, young and old, had their noses buried in a phone! They had their chins down, their heads tilted forwards, lower backs slumped, shoulder blades hunched and shoulders held up around their ears. “Aaaahhhhhhhh!” I thought to myself, “Those darn phones, (I actually used a much worser word than darn, but didn’t think I should put it in print) they are the bane of my existence!”
I seriously can’t stand the way we all sit when we are using our phones or tablet devices. The pressure that we put on our spinal system when we hold such a bad posture for an extended period of time is incredible. When we are hunched forwards the joints in our spine get compressed and stressed in ways that they weren’t designed to be. If this happens repetitively or for prolonged periods it will cause pinching between the joints resulting in pain, muscle tightness and inflammation. Keep on doing it and you will soon end up at Physique needing some hands-on treatment to get moving again. If we are particularly blessed we will just get a bit of an ache in a muscle. But, more often than not it is a massive and very painful muscle spasm which stops us from being able to function until we get some effective treatment.
I so regularly see patients that have caused neck, shoulder blade and lower back pain from spending too long in a bad posture looking at their devices that I now routinely ask my new patients if they watch TV shows or movies, read or play games on their phones or tablets. Often I get the reply, “Yes, but what does that have to do with my neck pain?” I am astonished how frequently people are unaware of how poorly they are holding themselves when they are spending time in front of a small screen. Sometimes, I even take a photo to show my patients how they are sitting or lying just to explain that this posture is the likely cause of their pain.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we need to cease doing these things on our phones. I love watching my favourite TV show, whilst tucked up in bed with my wife just as much as the next person. But, what we need to make sure is that we maintain a posture that keeps the natural curves in our spine and allows us to be in one position without causing muscle aches and pains.
Here are some tips to maintaining a good posture while on the mobile devices. Please make sure that you always have your chin tucked in and your shoulder blades down and in together. In addition, if possible try to have a cushion stuffed behind the small of your back and attempt to keep a nice curve in your Lumbar spine. And finally, the most simple and effective thing you can do when lying in bed is to always have a pillow under your knees so that they are kept in a flexed position the whole time.
Try these tips and above all else just be aware of how you are sitting or lying. Enjoy using your technology but please watch your posture and correct it before it starts to cause you some serious pain.