by Richard Hollis
Recent research found that London residents spend an average of 9 hours online a day. Added up that is 30 years in a lifetime, certainly enough time for back and neck to occur if attention isn’t paid to our posture whilst using our newest gadget.
Prolonged periods in twisted, awkward and slouched postures whilst using your latest phone, tablet, gaming console or laptop could cause accumulation of stress and strain which one day could result in back pain or neck pain. In fact, research commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) in 2010 revealed that almost a quarter (24%) people in the London complain of back, neck or shoulder pain whilst using or carrying gadgets.
Although spending time online has become an essential part of our lives, some following some simple advice can help keep you pain free whilst surfing, whether at home or on the move.
- Try out new gadgets before you buy them to make sure they’re comfortable to use and spend time setting them up in a way that works well for you. If you are using your laptop in a fixed position, eg on a desk, think about putting it on a stand and using a separate keyboard and mouse.
- Don’t carry so many items in your bag all the time. Only pack what you need each day and avoid ‘doubling up’ on your tech. eg Do you really need a laptop and your tablet for that trip?
- The head is a heavy, in fact it’s about the same weight as a bowling ball! Sitting with it forward of your body puts unnecessary strain on your neck and back muscles so always sit with your head directly over your body.
- If using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, including on your commute, take the time to have a change in position. Most problems begin when people do one thing for too long. Change posture on a regular basis and stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around as this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 40 minutes, less if possible. When you do take a break, walk around and stretch a little.
- If you carry a laptop, use a rucksack design laptop case. Carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.
- When sitting in front of your PC or laptop, sit in chairs that provide full support for your spine and make sure your shoulders, hips and knees face the same direction. If possible get HR at your office to carry out a workstation assessment to ensure not only that you have the most appropriate equipment but also that you are using it correctly.
If neck pain or back pain persist then it’s a good idea to get yourself seen by a chiropractor at the Broadgate. We work as a team with these types of problems so can refer you to one of our physiotherapists or GP if necessary.