Sore thumbs, tired wrists and aching necks are all typical complaints when we overuse our smartphones. Nowadays, we spend a lot of time on our phones. A large amount of this time is in a poor posture. If you know how to use your smartphone ergonomically, you are helping to prevent injuries.
When we hold our head in a healthy neutral position, i.e. looking straight ahead, the forces on the cervical spine or neck area are approximately 5kg – 5.5kg. For every inch (2.5cm) the head moves forward, it’s an extra 4.5kg weight on the spine; as per the picture below . Consider the amount of time we spend looking down at our phones. Repeating this constantly and often for long durations throughout the day, places unnecessary strain on our necks and increases the risk of developing neck problems.
Try out these simple tips when using your smartphone:
Bring your phone to eye level using your arms – What we want to think about here is removing the amount of looking down we have to do. This is important to prevent neck and shoulder pain. Start with your arms down by your side, keep your elbows close to your body. Bend your elbows and bring your forearm up towards you. Position yourself where you can look directly ahead at your phone. Look around the screen using your eyes.
Index fingers instead of thumbs- The joints in our thumbs are not designed for constant scrolling & typing. Your index fingers can do the job more efficiently, also, try to be conscious of how hard you are pressing on the screen here.
Use both hands – Allow your phone to rest in one hand while you use it with the other. This will allow you to hold your phone with less tension. Try to alternate hands also.
Take a break – Consider setting a reminder or using an app which prompts you to take a break from your small screen. Try to implement the 20-20-20 rule to ensure your eyes do not become strained. For every 20 minutes spent looking at your screen, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Ergonomics Support for Your Company
Fit For Work provide a range of ergonomics services which are suitable for those working from home/remotely or those who are office based. To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.