So lets be real here. I’d love to say, put down your phone, but we all know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The average person sends and receives approximately 50 text messages per day. That is a lot of time in the “text position” and that’s not even including all the other time we spend on our phones.
This so called “text position” can be very hard on the body. Since we aren’t going to put the phone down, lets discuss the most ergonomic way to ensure we don’t develop related aches and pains, aches and pains that you may not have even realized are a result of your habitual smart phone habits!
The Neck and Back
Texting puts you in a head down position. An average adult head weighs approximately 10-12 pounds. (Thats about the equivalent of a bowling ball). According to studies, holding your head at 60 degrees exerts about 60 pounds of force on the neck and upper back.
Solution: Simple.. Raise your phone. Bring it to a level so that your ears are above your shoulders. No more Hunch Back of Notre Dame, no more stiff neck!
Alright, so we have gone so far as to adopt the term “texting thumb” for what is more commonly known among the medical world as De Quervain syndrome. De Quervain syndrome is a over use injury affecting 2 muscles that control movement of the thumb. These muscles are the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus. These muscle tendons can become inflamed causing both pain and also a decrease in grip strength.
Solution: When possible, try to use your phones voice recognition. If voice command isn’t ideal be sure incorporate the use of other fingers into your texting pattern.
Your Wrist and Fingers
The fine motor demands on our wrist and fingers when using our devices can lead to a very painful condition know as carpel tunnel syndrome. This is an impingement of the median nerve in the wrist due to inflammation of various surrounding muscles and muscle tendon.
Solution: Along with using the voice recognition on your phone, do regular stretching of the fingers and wrist. Here is a link to a few great stretches that can help decrease symptoms and proactively prevent carpel tunnel. Click Here