By chatteris-osteopaths on Friday, March 20th, 2015 in Uncategorized.
Mobile phones are undoubtedly the ‘must have’ gadget of the 21st Century. It’s practically unthinkable for someone not to have a mobile phone these days – even my dad would be lost without his! Smartphones have become smarter than ever and have essentially become powerful mini computers. Most people would be lost without their phone and there’s no denying how useful these devices can be: we can use them to connect with our friends on social media, order our shopping, book a holiday, find out what the weather is going to do. They can also (so I’m told) make phone calls if the user so wishes! But is this all such good news?….
No matter where you go these days it is highly likely that you will see a significant amount of people staring down at their mobile phone, scrolling through pages of the latest who-knows-what, who-likes-what or who’s-with-whom. Aside from the sociological consequences of this focus and obsession with our little screens, what is it doing to us physically and what could be the possible long term consequences? People are becoming increasingly aware of the need for a good ergonomic set-up at their work desk in order to minimise the risk of long-term postural issues, however little or no thought, it seems, is paid to our use of these devices, despite people practically running their lives from them these days.
When looking at a mobile phone the user will typically be holding the phone in the palm of one hand, looking directly down at the screen. In this position the neck is flexed forward putting enormous strain on the soft tissues at the back of the neck as they try to hold the heavy head in this unnatural position. Over a long period of time the strain that this puts on the neck is likely to cause damage to the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the neck, leading to problems of neck and upper back stiffness, pain and even headaches. The constant use of the thumb – our most important digit – could also lead to repetitive strain type injuries and prolonged periods of staring at such a small screen could also be putting a strain on our eyes.
There’s very little doubt that mobile phones will continue to be a ‘must have’ for most of us for the foreseeable future therefore we need to think about ways to modify and adapt our use of them in order that they don’t start to have an adverse effect on our health. There are many ways that this could be done but here are a few thoughts:
Therefore, although mobile phones have become an extremely important part of most of our lives, health-wise it’s best for us to try to reduce or modify their use as much as we can.
If you think you may be suffering from any of these problems related to mobile phone use then give us a call on 01354 694050 and book a free 15-minute assessment with one of our osteopaths who will be able to advise on how best it may be treated.