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Can Phone Use Affect My Posture?

FAQs about daily phone use, your posture, and even your kid's posture.

Why is proper posture important to my health?

Inside your body is an important framework of bones and muscles called the musculoskeletal system. This system enables us to sit, stand, reach, twist, and move our bodies. When looking at a person from the side, the center of the person’s ear should be positioned directly above the center of the shoulder. Fewer muscles are activated when your skeleton is lined up properly. When the head is angled too far forward, or the shoulders have hunched forward, the body’s posture muscles can’t handle the strain of continually supporting the skeleton in this improper position. When faced with this situation, the body often recruits extra muscles to stabilize the body. So now your body is using more energy than necessary to try to maintain your posture. This can make you feel tired and sore.

Can poor posture cause headaches?

Yes, it can. When the skull is positioned correctly in relation to the spine, and not angled too far anterior (forward), there is less stress on the body’s framework. When poor posture has shifted the alignment of the neck, a person becomes more susceptible to tension headaches, occipital headaches, and migraines. These headaches might be barely noticeable at first, but can progress over time to become quite painful. This will make using the phone less comfortable and enjoyable.

What does bad posture look like?

When observed from the back, poor posture can be demonstrated by seeing one shoulder higher than the other, or one hip higher than the other. You may notice one shoulder blade higher or possibly sticking out further than its counterpart. The ear may be closer to one shoulder than the other. Basically, the person should look symmetrical from side to side.

When observed from the side, poor posture can be shown by noticing the head leaning too far ahead, hunched shoulders, the chin angled too high / too low, and the center of the hips not lined up with the center of the shoulders.

Can using my mobile phone cause damage to my posture?

Yes, it can. However, this doesn’t happen over a short period of time. Bad posture usually occurs after months and years of holding the phone incorrectly. The body’s posture is especially at risk when a person uses their phone for many hours a day. This problem is compounded by other daily activities that cause someone’s head and shoulders to lean too far forward. For example, a person who spends time hunched over their computer, then time leaning over a tablet, then angles forward to text on their phone, and afterward returns home to lean forward over the handle bars of their bicycle – is at risk for skeletal and soft tissue damage.

What should I be mindful of while using my phone?

While using the phone seated: Do you have good back support? Good back support maintains proper posture. When using your phone while having proper back support, your shoulders will not tend to round forward and the angle of your neck will not fall forward so that your chin becomes closer to your chest.

When standing: While using the phone standing, you will want to try to keep your jaw level with the floor. Bring the phone up a bit so that it is closer to your eyes. Try not to bend forward at the waist.

While using the phone in bed: From a postural perspective, this is probably the worst place to use your phone! It’s ok to respond to a few quick text messages. However, it isn’t the best idea to spend longer than a few minutes using the phone while in bed. When doing so, try to maintain a seated position.

Can phone use affect my kid’s posture?

Yes, it most definitely can. Although most children and teens are fairly flexible and limber, repeated phone use over years can negatively impact their health. Also consider that children are beginning to use electronics at a very young age. By the time they reach 20 years of age, how many hours have they accumulated using imperfect posture while spending time using electronic devices? Some kids are at high risk for health concerns due to poor posture and may experience: difficulty sleeping, muscle soreness, fatigue, and headaches.

Is poor posture permanent?

Poor posture can become permanent, but it takes many years to do so. The longer poor posture is maintained; the longer it will take to be corrected. Therefore, if a person has had bad posture for years, it will take some time to correct.

How should I hold my phone while texting?

Ideally, you should be seated, with your phone at chest level. When possible, utilize a table to support your arms. Some people feel more comfortable texting with both thumbs.

When making a phone call, is it better to use the phone’s “speaker phone” ability, or to hold the phone up to my ear?

For a short phone call, it really doesn’t matter. For extended phone conversations, it’s better to use a speaker phone. This enables you to set the phone down so you can relax comfortably during the call.

Can a chiropractor help me correct bad posture from phone use?

Yes. If you spend more than five hours a week on your phone, a chiropractor could become your best friend. Because our phones have become essential to our lives, we need to take steps to be proactive in maintaining good posture. A chiropractor can gently undo the damage you have done to your musculoskeletal system. This may take several visits initially. However, once your body’s normal posture has been restored, it becomes much easier to maintain good posture. After receiving chiropractic treatment, you will notice that you are more comfortable when using your phone.

It’s possible to use your phone regularly and still maintain healthy posture. Be mindful of how you are holding your phone and try to avoid using your phone when you are overly tired and you notice your posture becoming too relaxed and sloppy. Keep an eye on younger family members so that they also learn how to hold their phones correctly. The small steps that you take now will protect your posture for many years to come.

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