A new epidemic…Smart phone injuries. By Rebecca Brugman – Osteopath

by (Osteopath & Exercise Scientist)

Everybody these days has a phone – generally a smart phone.  Being such a great help in everyday life, smart phones get a lot of use – hello google maps!  So much so that injuries such as ‘blackberry thumb’ and ‘iposture’ are becoming prominent.

Symptoms to look out for that might signal poor use of smart phones are:

  1. Eye redness or irritation and blurred vision is usually the result of staring at the bright backlight of screens for a long period of time. Dry eyes can result from reduced blinking rates.
  2. General fatigue can occur from staring at screens and straining to see small fonts and images.
  3. Back and neck pain can occur because of poor body posture when a phone is not positioned properly. Painful pressure can build on muscles if the neck is constantly moving up or down.
  4. Headaches can be caused by repeated neck and eye strain.

The injury that I would like to address is everyday neck and back pain caused by poor phone posture.  There is a high probability that you are reading this article on your smart phone.  Take a look and evaluate how you are sitting.  It is quite common to see posture relating to smart phone use where the phone is held low on the lap and the neck is flexed forward significantly to see the screen.

This creates tension through the muscles of the neck and upper back, it tractions through the suboccipital joint – which is the joint that joins your head to your neck, it puts the muscles around this joint on stretch and after prolonged posture this way, can lead to upper back, neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches.

An Osteopath, whilst using manual therapy to improve the bodies function, is also responsible for discovering the primary cause of a patient’s pain.  This ensures that the patient’s problem will heal completely and stay away.  Work place ergonomics is frequently assessed to address the primary cause of a patient’s problem.  There are good systems with OH&S that are aimed at managing this problem.  Smartphone use however, is not well addressed.  Ask yourself – how many times per day, how many hours do you spend on your phone? If you could spend this time with good phone posture – it will reduce your risk of smart phone induced neck and back pain, otherwise known as ‘iposture’.

Correct smart phone posture.



Photos courtesy of https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/consumers//media/VCDigitalEyeStrainReport2012FINAL.pdf


by (Osteopath & Exercise Scientist) on 20th March 2014 |

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