Two major changes have occurred to our society and our workplace over the last few decades. The number of people sitting at desks has increased as well as the numbers for cell phone owners. With these increases comes the unnecessary and unwanted addition of neck and upper back pain.
Here are some alarming numbers that support those statements.
- First, the average amount of time spent on a cell phone today is 2 hours and 51 minutes.
- 58% of smartphone users cannot make it 1 hour without checking into their phone.
- 150 times a day. That is the average of how many times the phone is unlocked a day.
- 66% of smart phone users are addicted to their phone.
- 71% of users usually sleep with their phone.
- 40% check their phone in the middle of the night.
- 75% of Americans use their cell phones while using the toilet.
- During the current COVID-19 pandemic the smart phone usage has increased 57%.
Saving the best statistic for last; we laugh on the average of 15 times a day, but we average touching our phones over 2,600 times a day! So, the case has been proven we use our phones a lot causing a corresponding increase in neck pain.
Let’s look at some suggestions in how to look at your mobile device to relieve the strain on the neck muscles.
- Look Forward First– Try to bring the cell phone UP to your eye level. This small change will minimize the bend in your neck and improve your spine posture.
- Move your Eyes, not your Neck– If your smart phone is below your eye level do your absolute best to shift your eyes, to lower your gaze, to the screen rather than dropping your chin.
- Take Frequent Breaks– Many micro breaks to move and stretch your neck and back. Do NOT use your device over 20 minutes.
- Consider a Phone Call– If possible, dial the recipient of the text versus texting.
- Check your Posture– Make your best effort to maintain a curve in your lower back which sitting and using your cell phone. If possible, try to use a supportive chair with arms to rest your arms on. When on the phone, avoid cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder.
- Stretching– Try tucking your chin on a regular basis and hold there for several seconds and repeat several times. Then try pulling your shoulder blades together thrusting your chest out. This scapular retraction loosens the back as well.
When you bend your head to text or browse you are dramatically increasing the stress on the cervical spine. This position is not natural and will undoubtedly lead to irregular stresses on your spine and the surrounding soft tissues.
If you have neck pain it is self-induced. Consider your cell phone usage and your posture. Start today by introducing a new habit around your relationship with your phone. Consider this; SMART, make your change Specific, make it Measurable, there is a Reward in you sticking with it and your progress will be Trackable.