You’re Using Your Smartphone All Wrong

Technology can be a pain in the neck!

Do you ever feel like your head and your shoulders are becoming one?  The distance between your ears and your shoulders are getting closer and closer together as the day goes on, posture worsens and stress levels increase.  Did you know some of this tension, pain and discomfort can be caused by how you are using your smartphone?  Looking down to text, scrolling through the latest news on social media, and checking your calendar and emails can cause strains to the neck and upper back muscles.  It can lead to knots or muscle spasms and inflammation at the joints. Some may experience nerve pain across the shoulders, down the back or into the arms.

What You Can Do:

  • Limit your time on your smartphone.  Regular breaks are needed.  Make an effort to get off of your phone after 20 minutes and move around.
  • Maintain good posture.  Hunching forward (as we are all guilty of) exacerbates the stress and strain on our neck, upper back and shoulders.  Using proper ergonomics can go a long way in preventing smartphone-related injuries.  Try to hold your phone higher to reduce the amount of looking down that is needed. Bring the phone at eye height by bracing your elbow on your opposite hand across your abdomen. If you need both hands, brace your elbows on a surface, or your own abdomen and bring the phone up to your face.
  • If you have a project or task that is going to take longer, sit or stand comfortably at your computer instead of using your phone.  For tips on proper ergonomic set up for your desk, check out our previous blog post “Devices And Posture
  • Avoid holding your phone up with your flexed pinky finger. Many phone case designs like a ring or band allow you to hold your phone with your whole hand, in a neutral position.
  • Do regular exercise that helps to strengthen and stretch affected areas.  Yoga and Pilates are great examples of exercise to include in your routine. Ask your chiropractor, physiotherapist, and registered massage therapist for specific exercises to address your area(s) of complaint.
  • Avoid cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder. We have known not to do this for many years, yet we still are guilty of doing it.  Holding our head and neck in this position is a recipe for neck and upper back pain.  If you must do something else with your hands while on a phone call, then use a wireless headset, BlueTooth or earbuds to make your calls.
  • Seek help.  If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, talk to your chiropractor, physiotherapist and/or massage therapist.  Each one of these health care providers is skilled in assisting you with repetitive strain injuries from smartphone usage.

All the portable technology has allowed us many opportunities, but there are some drawbacks if not used correctly.  We hope these tips assist you in not falling victim to “Tech-Neck”. 

If you would like to see how your smartphone has been affecting your posture, or in need of care, be sure to contact our office.

Byward location – 613.860.8600

Glebe location – 613.237.9000