The Health Risks from too much Smartphone use

 

This article is by Jo Knock the physiotherapist in London at the Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic and looks at how hand held devices cause localised pain and postural adaptations that can lead to long term problems such as back pain and RSI.


As a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Senior Musculo-skeletal physiotherapist at London Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic, I completely agree with the BBC’s report in which the CSP are quoted. And I will see them and raise them children and gamers!!!


Lengthening the working day can shorten your height!

The BBC‘s article states that office workers have become screen slaves who continue to work on tablets and smart phones after they leave the office. While this plays a big part in the postural pain in necks and backs that I see in my patients, another consideration are those who sit on the tube on their way to and from home. They aren’t actually working, rather looking down at their weapon of choice playing games for hours on end to pass the dreary journey home. This constant flexion of the neck creates excessive strain on the muscles in the neck, leading to overload and inevitably pain.

When a few links in the chain aren’t functioning well, the entire loop is affected. Think of a bike chain: If you have even one link which is dodgy, the whole bike performs inefficiently, and the cyclist has to work much harder to make the bike work / move / function. Your spine is the same.

"I bet you are reading this right now sitting slumped in your chair!!! If you need a little refresher on posture go to my postural cues". Jo Knock, physiotherapist in London

Any area of the spine in poor posture has the potential and strong likelihood to detrimentally load the rest of your spine. In this case your spine is forced to compensate for the woeful posture (just like the bike chain) and makes it harder to work / move / function. These factors all lead to strain… then pain. I bet you are reading this right now sitting slumped in your chair!!! If you need a little refresher on posture go to my postural cues.

Children get back pain too

Now - don’t even get me STARTED on those children that sit looking straight down (more neck flexion) at their hand held devices, i.e. PSP and Nintendo DS, never coming up for air. Those kids will eventually develop a large lump at the base of their neck, where the cervical spine meets the thoracic spine. In technical terms we call it a Dowager’s Hump. But for all intents and purposes you may as well just refer to it as the Hunch Back of Notre Dame.

Don’t kid yourselves though, it is not just children at risk of developing a Dowager’s Hump or any form of spinal pain related to posture. As adults who spend hours on end at a desk, poking your heads forward toward the computer screen and slumping in your seats, you too are at risk, as the CSP so kindly reminded you today in the article published by the BBC.

It was well before smart phones, portable gaming devices and tablet computers came out that individuals have suffered with spinal pain. But as a Physio in London at Islington’s Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic I can tell you know there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of patients I see, young and old, with posture related pain. Perhaps the cause has just been revealed….
Watch out – you could be the next Quasimodo

This article is by Jo Knock the physiotherapist in London at the Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic. At work you may develop poor postural techniques over time, which will lead to dysfunction and pain. Most commonly I see neck / back pain and wrist / elbow pain as a result of poor positioning and RSI from using a mouse (and now smart phone!). If you are concerned about your risk of developing an injury you can make an appointment with the physiotherapist in London by clicking below.
 



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