The Southeastern Spine Institute

Cellphones and back pain aren’t exactly things you associate with each other — until you have a problem. Ergonomics are probably not the most pressing issue on the minds of cellphone designers either. Capability and convenience often outshine comfort in the world of mobile devices.

Even the simple act of holding your cellphone to your ear can cause problems with your elbows, neck, and shoulders, though. Texting or using your phone to create documents puts stress on your thumbs and fingers; but it also puts additional stress on your neck and shoulders. Cellphones and back pain are a lot more closely related than you may initially realize.

About Cellphones and Back Pain

Taking the time to look into the ergonomic aspect of your devices can save you some pain and suffering down the road. Here are 10 solid tips that can help you ease the strain of handheld technology on your body.

  1. Invest in Bluetooth. Holding your phone between your ear and shoulder isn’t just uncomfortable; it can lead to more serious and longer-lasting problems. This is one of the major reasons that cellphones and backpain are inseparable. Holding your phone in this way pinches your spinal discs and can cause nerve compression.
  2. Keep your wrists as straight as possible while you’re texting and swiping. This is one of the best ways to minimize strain. If your wrists are awkwardly bent, it forces your fingers to work harder than is necessary.
  3. Find the best fit. Just because a phone has the biggest screen, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best phone for you. You should look for a phone that you can easily reach the opposite corner with your thumb.
  4. Buy a phone that you can fit your hand around. You should be able to touch your thumb and forefinger around your phone.
  5. Alternate the way you text. Switching between using your thumbs and fingers drastically reduces repetitive thumb pain.
  6. Be mindful of your grip. Holding your cellphone too tightly puts stress on your fingers, thumbs and wrist.
  7. Maintain good posture. You may have a tendency to slouch when you use your phone. Most people do. Keeping your back straight and shoulders back and down goes a long way toward reducing pain in your neck, shoulders and back.
  8. Set your phone up for easy access. Put your frequently used controls and apps within easy reach of your thumbs. Even if you alternate between using your thumbs and fingers, your thumbs still do the most work on your screen.
  9. Keep cellphone interactions to a minimum. The less you have to physically interact with your phone, the better for your overall ergonomics. Enabling voice commands is always a good idea.
  10. 10. Take a minute to stretch. It’s recommended that you spend one to two minutes stretching for every 30 minutes you spend on your cellphone.

In today’s busy world, it’s nearly impossible to live unplugged, but being mindful of technology’s impact on your health and well-being can make a major difference. Cellphones and back pain don’t have to have a negative effect on you. Take proactive measures to ensure proper ergonomics when using all of your devices.