Over the last decade, gadgets have become a crucial part of everyday life. With new technology coming out all the time, people are increasingly reliant on it, but these wonders also create new problems. According to a new report, laptops, mobiles, MP3 players, e-readers, tablets, handheld games could be causing pain.
With these devices, web access is no longer restricted to the PC. With a plethora of new technology being introduced we are gazing into smaller screens. These devices are more portable so we are continually using technology no matter where we are and for longer periods.
Our lifestyle has changed too. Social networking has come to dominate much of our time. We are forever posting and checking status updates. In the last year alone, the number of smartphone owners using Twitter has increased 182%.
A major problem with using smaller tech is having to hunch over it. The days of sitting in front of a PC with the screen at eye level with a full sized keyboard and mouse are far in the past. The research conducted by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) suggests our daily gadget use is having adverse effects on our bodies with 24% of the nation complaining of pains and strains due to using or carrying gadgets.
44% of people who owned a smartphone say they spend anywhere between 30-120 minutes a day for uses other than phone calls.
The effects of over texting and emailing on your mobile are even recognised conditions, namely Blackberry thumb and text neck. The American Chiropractic Association has a website giving more details on the conditions and video exercises on how to deal with those aches and pains.
The BCA has devised some handy hints to help minimise such strains.
- 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.
- Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, and knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand, book or ream of paper to bring it to the right height.
- The head is a heavy weight and sitting with it forward of your body puts unnecessary strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 i.e. camera and smartphone if at all possible.
- If using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, including on your commute, take the time to break position 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 surfing and texting whilst walking as your lack of concentration is likely to cause some kind of problem!
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