Friday, October 23, 2009

i-Pods & Blackberries Can Literally Be A "Pain in the Neck"


Bet you didn’t think about the fact that cell phones, Blackberries, i-Pods, and handheld games have Americans spending a lot of time peering DOWN at their laps.

While these gadgets are a source of entertainment for kids and the cell phones help us to stay connected to friends and coworkers, handheld devices are also a source of muscle pain and injury.

I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people complaining of neck and back pain as a result of their handheld devices, and most patients don’t realize how looking down at a gadget can worsen neck, back and shoulder problems.

When people come in to my office with these complaints, I tell them “Hold the device in your hands and then take a look at the way you’re holding your body“, I can see almost immediately the cause of their pain – poor posture and overused muscles. If you use your cell phone a lot you might want to consider this handout as a “wake-up call“.

To help lessen muscle soreness caused by popular handheld devices, try these suggestions:

* Practice good posture when using any handheld device. Sit in a chair that provides solid back support and keep feet comfortably on the floor.

* Spend 10 minutes or less with your head tilted down looking at the device, and when possible hold the gadget at eye level.

* When at home or in the office, connect the device to your keyboard or computer.

* Take frequent breaks and alternate activities that use different muscle groups.

* Watch for warning signs of overuse such as headaches, fatigue or muscle pain.

If you continue to feel soreness, pain or muscle strain after following these tips, it may be time for a visit to our office for an adjustment and some instruction on stretching and light exercises.

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