There’s no arguing that mobile devices are useful, but just like your trusty laptop, they can really do a number on your joints! Still, knowledge is power, and understanding exactly how your smartphone is creating issues means you can take steps to avoid them. Here are two health problems you can blame on your phone, and what you can do to minimize them.
A COMPROMISED SPINE
Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself hunched over your phone, with rounded shoulders and drooping head. We all look down at our phones, and that tilted position increases pressure on the neck – significantly. A 45-degree forward tilt adds as much as 60 additional pounds of pressure to the neck. That’s okay for isolated moments here and there, but when you spend hours like this, you’re setting yourself up for pain and poor function.
Your best bet is to stash the phone! If it’s your primary source of entertainment, consider it high time you find something else to do. When you do need to use your phone, see if you can hold it up to eye level instead. It’ll spare your neck, and your protesting arms and shoulders mean you’re likely to put it away again much sooner. If you also have a habit of pinning your phone between your ear and shoulder, make a point of quitting. A tilt to the side has the same drawbacks.
STRAINED THUMBS AND WRISTS
If you text a lot, you’re at risk for a condition known as Blackberry thumb. It describes tendon strain in the thumb from overuse. The thumb isn’t quite as dexterous as the other fingers – its primary function is more about stability. And when we scroll or text endlessly, we’re demanding quite a bit of movement and flex. If you’ve ever noticed aches and pains in your thumb, this could be the culprit.
Try holding your phone in both hands so you can use both thumbs instead. If you can, holding the phone in one hand and scrolling with your index finger is also a better alternative.
HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
Smartphones aren’t going away, but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise your health. Dr. Lynelle McSweeney here in Reno offers holistic chiropractic care to address spinal and joint disfunction. No matter what caused your pain, Dr. McSweeney can help resolve it. Learn more about what to expect at your first visit, and schedule your appointment today.