Smartphones, tablets, and other tech devices are everywhere, but their use may be putting children and adults at risk for physical issues and injuries.

“Children and adults now spend an average of anywhere from 4 to 6 hours or more a day using computers and mobile devices,” says Jeffrey Cole, MD, director of musculoskeletal medicine at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, in a media release.

“We look down at our screens, cradle our phones between our ear and shoulder, and tend to slouch. This can lead to degeneration of the spine, as well as weakness and irritation in the muscles in the neck and shoulders, causing pain, headaches and what we now refer to as ‘tech neck,’ “ he adds.

To help minimize this injury risk, Kessler offers the following tips, per the release:

  • When seated at a computer, think ergonomically.  Be sure the screen is near eye level, your chair provides adequate back support and the height is adjusted so your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Use a document stand so you don’t look down for information.
  • When working or playing games on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone keep the screen near eye level. Consider using a cushion or stand to keep devices elevated.
  • Increase font size on your screen to avoid leaning in to read text.
  • Maintain good posture to decrease stress on the spine.
  • Take frequent breaks to give your eyes, hands, neck and back a rest.
  • Stand up, roll your shoulders and neck, and take a short walk to help improve blood flow and ease tired leg and back muscles.
  • Exercise, yoga and Pilates can help to stretch and strengthen muscles, improve posture and ease aches and pains.
  • Stay hydrated.  Water and fluids help to keep nutrients flowing in the body.
  • And remember, if you experience recurrent or severe pain in the neck or between your shoulder blades, tingling or numbness in your hands, or frequent headaches, seek medical attention as these may be symptoms of a more serious condition.

“It’s important that everyone—regardless of age—understands the physical risks of overusing or misusing technology, and takes the necessary precautions to avoid permanent injury,” Cole concludes “That means developing healthy tech habits—and keeping your head up.”

[Source(s): Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, PR Newswire]