Tech Neck Torment
Are you reading this on your smartphone? Chances are you were browsing social media, came across this post, clicked on it, and are looking down at your cell phone right now. And why wouldn’t you, you basically have a computer in your pocket. Our access to information is unprecedented on mobile devices.
And although I’m glad we’re connecting on mobile, and you took the time to read this article, I hope you will be convinced to check your cellphone posture. Please pull your smartphone up to eye level instead of looking down at your device as you read on.
Let me explain why….
Poor posture while using your smartphone is the demise of the new millennium. “Tech Neck Torment” is the cause of new health disparities and the underlying factor of postural decline.
Leading researchers agree that poor smartphone posture is affecting the health of our society.
Get the Research here:
- Pain and fatigue worsened with longer smartphone use. Correct posture and breaks of at least 20 minutes are recommended when using smartphones (Kim & Koo, 2016).
- Fatigue and stress in the neck and shoulders occur more easily with use of touch-screen computers than with desktops because small-monitor devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs cause people to look down and to slouch more than with desktops (Shin & Zhu, 2011).
- Repetitive or prolonged head flexion posture while using a smartphone is known as one of the risk factors for pain symptoms in the neck. The head flexion angle was significantly larger for text messaging than for the other tasks, and significantly larger while sitting than while standing (Lee et al., 2012).
- Prolonged use of smartphones can induce changes in cervical and lumbar spine posture and proprioception in the cervical spine (Kim et al., 2013).
- As smartphone addiction becomes more severe, a person is more likely to show impaired proprioception, as well as impaired ability to recognize the right posture (Lee & Seo, 2014).
The bottom line is that looking down at your smartphone is causing postural disorders, repositioning errors, and poor proprioception. Without conscious postural control while engaging with your tech devices Tech Neck will continue to cause torment to your health.
Next time your cell phone rings with a notification and you grab your phone practice the following Posture Tips to prevent Tech Neck Torment:
- Bring your cell phone up to eye level so you don’t have to look down to see the screen
- Pull your shoulders back and your chin back so your ear is aligned over your shoulders
- Use voice dictation commands to navigate your smartphone and respond to text messages so you don’t have to look down
- Plug your head phones in and walk while talking on your cell phone
- Set Posture Reminder alarms on your smartphone as a reminder to Check Your Posture throughout the day
Kim, Y. G., Kang, M. H., Kim, J. W., Jang, J. H., & Oh, J. S. (2013). Influence of the duration of smartphone usage on flexion angles of the cervical and lumbar spine and on reposition error in the cervical spine. Physical Therapy Korea, 20(1), 10-17.
Kim, S. Y., & Koo, S. J. (2016). Effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults. Journal of physical therapy science, 28(6), 1669-1672.
Lee, H., Choi, Y. S., & Lee, S. (2012, September). Mobile posture monitoring system to prevent physical health risk of smartphone users. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (pp. 592-593). ACM.
Lee, J., & Seo, K. (2014). The comparison of cervical repositioning errors according to smartphone addiction grades. Journal of physical therapy science, 26(4), 595-598.
Shin G, & Zhu, X (2011) User discomfort, work posture and muscle activity while using a touchscreen in a desktop PC setting. Ergonomics, 54: 733–744.