What Do You Look Like When You Use Your Phone or Tablet?
Have you ever watched someone else using a cell phone? Was their posture good or poor? Most likely it was quite poor. When we get focused on a phone or tablet, we tend to want to create some “private space.” To do that, we pull our heads and necks forward and curl our upper body into a ball to get that private feeling. If someone is talking on the phone, they may also be hunching their shoulder up to cradle the phone next to their ear.
What does all this do to our bodies? Cradling the phone next to the ear creates compression of the vertebra on the side of the phone, which will eventually lead to pain in the shoulder and arm. Jutting our head forward puts strain on our neck, shoulders, and back. Crunching down to hover over our devices will create tension all throughout the spine and surrounding muscles.
Our heads weight approximately 10 lbs. If we allow that much weight to pull down on the muscles in the upper body, we are going to create quite a bit of strain. When we have our head in any position other than aligned on top of the spine, we will create tension. This tension forces our back muscles to work inefficiently. In order to compensate, we will put more effort into our hands as we use them. This then leads to repetitive strain injury, joint pain, and, eventually, arthritis.
Once we are sitting up, balanced on our sit bones, or standing tall but relaxed, how do we find a good position for using our devices?
- One solution is to hold the device up at eye level so you are not forced to jut the neck forward and down to see it.
- If you must look down to see the screen, remember that the head can remain balanced on the spine and look down if you tilt the head at the top of the spine. Let the crown of your head go up in space and tilt the head from an imaginary rod going straight through from ear to ear. In this position, the weight of your head will still be supported by your spine rather than incorrect muscles, while still allowing you to view the screen.
- Resist the temptation to multi-task while speaking on the phone. Use your hand to hold the phone rather than your shoulder. Keep your spine balanced so that if you drew an imaginary line from the side of your ear, through your shoulder and then through your hips, you would have a straight line.
- Bring the phone to your ear; don’t bring your ear to the phone.
Let us know if these tips have been helpful. How have you changed the way you relate to your electronic devices? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Now that we know how to use our computer and electronic devices, what about our children? How can we adapt work spaces to their size? Next time we look into that issue.