Have you ever noticed that your neck gets cranky after an extended Angry Birds binge? Or your thumb starts to throb the day after sending 40 emails from your phone during a particularly boring meeting? With more people spending more time on their smartphones, stories of repetitive strain injuries like these are on the rise.
Certified Hellerwork practitioner and licensed massage therapist Joseph Hunton has seen, and experienced, the results of overuse and improper ergonomics when it comes to these devices. “I had been sitting and standing with my head bent over the phone while holding it and making fine finger movements for hours at a time,” Hunton says of the days that followed the arrival of his new smartphone. “This was a recipe for strain and pain.”
Hunton encourages smartphone users to stretch and take frequent breaks, and cautions that improper use may result in a stiff neck, sore upper back, and tight arms. Here are some more smartphone ergonomic tips to avoid the pain:
–Bring the phone up to your line of sight to keep your head aligned with your spine.
–Use a wireless headset to prevent arm strain.
–Never hold the phone between your head and shoulder.
Frequent smartphone use can also cause repetitive strain injuries of the thumb. Hunton reminds us to use our smartphones intelligently. “Although it can perform many functions, it is not really a computer, gaming station, or video monitor,” he says.
Options for Relief
Stretching, limiting your smartphone use, and receiving frequent massage are all successful ways to alleviate the strain caused by repetitive use. Listen to your body, and communicate with your massage therapist about any pain or discomfort that might arise from the use of these devices.