Movement is Medicine: The Smart Fun Slump

How often do you spend on your phone? I know I use it quite regularly to check in with work, communicate with staff, check emails, social media etc. I am trying to make it a habit to put it away when playing with my kiddos and every night when my hubby gets home until after the kids are in bed. While cell phone usage might be detrimental in several ways there is new research showing how it can be harmful to your back. You can check out this article from Huff Post to see how one mom kicked her cellphone habit to the curb.

Harmful truth of cellphone use to your health

My husband writes a weekly article for a local paper and this one really caught my eye. I thought it would be a good one to share with my mommy friends. Check it out and let me know what you think...


Movement is Medicine: The Smart Phone Slump by, Christopher Telesmanic, DPT, OCS

 

Posture is something that physical therapists talk about a lot.  Whether it’s the siting posture we adopt when driving, or slumped standing posture when waiting in line at Starbucks, the positions that we allow our body to default into when we are not paying attention have huge consequences on our overall health.  A recent study conducted by the Chief of Spine Surgery at New York’s Spine, Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital has validated this concern and discovered the newest poor posture trap.

 

It may not come as a surprise, since almost everyone has a smart phone these days, but it turns out that cell phone usage is fast becoming the biggest threat to our posture and by extension, overall spine health.  The most common posture adopted when using one’s cell phone is a slumped and rounded thoracic spine with a significant amount of cervical flexion.  If the terminology is unfamiliar to you, then simply take note of the next person you see checking facebook on their phone when standing at line in the grocery store – they will be looking down, with a rounded upper back and shoulders. 

 

The study specifically correlates the degree to which someone is bending their neck forward to the amount of stress and pressure on the structures of the cervical spine.  As the angle of neck flexion increases, so does the amount of stress and pressure on the neck.  Simply put, the more time you spend looking down at your phone – whether sitting or standing – the more likely you are to cause early wear and tear, degeneration and possible displacement to the various structures in your neck.  These factors can lead to disc herniation’s, arthritis, and/or muscle strains/sprains.

 

To ensure you are not the next victim of cell phone slump, check out the following tips that can help mitigate the damage cause by the time we spend on our phones.

 

1.     Hold your phone at eye level:  It sounds simple, and a little bit annoying – but that’s kind of the point.  It will limit the time you spend on your phone and help remind you to keep your neck in a neutral position when you are looking at it, therefore preventing any of the aforementioned side effects of cell phone slump

2.     Voice to text: This is an easy way avoid looking down at your phone all together.  Take advantage of the ever improving voice recognition technology and dictate your texts looking straight ahead , instead of looking down and typing.  As a bonus, this will also help you prevent “blackberry thumb.”

3.     Remove distractions from your phone: As hard as it may seem, try deleting at least some of the apps that keep you looking down at your phone.  Even sitting at a properly set up workstation will allow for better posture than extended periods of gazing down at your phone.

 

Even if these changes seem onerous, keep in mind that they will be well worth the effort.  Save yourself the pain, remember what your mother said and Stand up Straight!

 

If you have questions, simply e mail chris@alliancerehabilitation.com, or follow him on facebook or check out the website at www.alliance-rehabilitation.com.