Cell phones, tablets, Kindle reading devices and handheld games have Americans spending a lot of time peering down at their laps.While the gadgets are a source of entertainment and help keep people connected to friends and coworkers, more so that I like a lot of times, handheld devices are also a source of muscle pain and injury.
I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people complaining of pain as a result of their handheld devices. You may not be complaining yet, but if you are having any type of pain in the neck, you should consider your cell phone as the culprit.
Most of my patients don’t realize how much looking down at a gadget can worsen neck, back and shoulder problems, but it does.
I actually ask patients to hold the device in their hands and then take a look at the way they’re holding their body. I can see almost immediately the cause of their pain – poor posture and overused muscles. This applies to lap top computers as well, but I’ll save that discussion for another day.
To help lessen muscle soreness caused by popular handheld devices, I suggest you do the followingif at all possible:
* Practice good posture when using any handheld device. Sit in a chair that provides solid back support and keep feet comfortably on the floor. I know this is hard, but try your best.
* Spend 10 minutes or less with your head tilted down looking at the device, and when possible – hold the gadget at eye level.
* When at home or in the office, connect the device to your keyboard or computer.
* Take frequent breaks and alternate activities that use different muscle groups. Do stretches to help relieve your pain.
* Watch for WARNING signs of overuse such as headaches, fatigue or muscle pain.
* Remind your KIDS to be mindful of their posture while using hand-held devices. Getting into this habit young could prevent years of suffering later in life.
If you continue to feel soreness, pain or muscle strain after following these tips, it is time to schedule an appointment. If you’re still having trouble after a few adjustments, it’s time we did a new examination to find out the root cause of your problem.