Close to 60% of the world’s total population used the Internet at the start of 2021, with around 66.6% (or 5.22 billion people) counting as unique mobile phone users. If you use a smartphone, desktop computer, or tablet for several hours a day, you may notice that you have aches, pains or tension in areas like your neck, shoulders and jawline. It is important to be vigilant of posture, since too many hours leaning forward, bending your head down or forwards, or sitting in a non-ergonomic fashion, can wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing.
The Link Between Tech Use And Poor Posture
study by L Straker and colleagues (published in the journal Public Health Reports) showed that there is a strong link between computer use and postural problems. The researchers stated that “The use of computers influences instantaneous spinal postures… influencing the degree of spinal loading and possibly being a factor in reports of greater spinal pain in adult and adolescent computer users.” Their study showed that using a computer not only caused temporary alterations in posture, but also habitual (or permanent) ones, as postural changes could lead to adaptive neuromusculoskeletal changes. A heavy reliance on technology as a whole, said the researchers, could also lead to reduced physical activity, with a subsequent reduction in muscular endurance and worse habitual posture. Indeed, even neck pain itself (from computer use) could lead to permanent postural changes.
Mobile Device Usage And Jaw Pain
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Community Health found an association between smartphone use and musculoskeletal discomfort. The results indicated that the number of body parts with discomfort increased when more hours were spent on smartphones. Participants who talked on the phone for over three hours a day, for instance, had a higher risk of upper back discomfort than those who talked on the phone for less than one hour. Smartphone and computer use can also cause jaw pain, since users may bend their neck forward or downward to use their devices, causing strain to the jawline, as well the neck, shoulders and back. One remedy recommended by health experts is using chin tucks to ease jaw pain and correct head and spine alignment. The exercise essentially involves looking straight ahead, placing one finger on the chin, and pushing the head and chin backwards (while keeping the neck straight). If you are doing this exercise right, then you should feel a pleasant stretch at the back of the neck. Hold this position for a few seconds, and slowly return to your normal position, repeating the exercise around 10 times.
If you use your smartphone or computer for several hours a day, you may be battling neck, shoulder or back pain. This is because tech use can alter your habitual posture as well as your temporary posture. Aim to limit your reliance on technology, and ensure you invest in comfortable furniture if you have an office job. Finally, seek help if you find that pain is interfering with your quality of life.