ipad kidToday’s business and social world heavily relies on the use of the internet and associated communication gateways and information sharing methods. Along with this, as technology advances at a rapid rate, we are provided with easier and cheaper access to items such as laptops, phones, e-readers and tablets. This is great for business and keeping in touch with family and friends, but what impact is it having on our posture and our neck in particular?

Bringing the head forward just 1 inch increases the load on the neck by around 4.5kg

When using these devices people tend do so with the device at stomach height, in their lap, or on a table in front of them, causing them to look down for significant periods of time. This creates a huge amount of strain on the structures that support the head and neck. Bringing the head forward just 1 inch increases the load on the neck by around 4.5kg.

Furthermore, regularly being in these postures can create dysfunction that will eventually make it difficult to stand tall, in good posture. This itself can be a precursor to pain and dysfunction.

Of greater concern is the increasing number of younger children that now spend time on electronic devices in their laps. Schools are now implementing the use of tablets in some lessons quite early on. I have no problem with this, children need to learn to use devices that will no doubt be an integral part of their careers in the future.

So what is it I don’t like about this?

Apart from creating a more sedentary lifestyle with less interaction with nature, it’s potentially creating a number of neck, back and shoulder problems at a very young age.

So what can we do?

Firstly try to limit unnecessary use and if its unavoidable, try to take frequent breaks. There are a number of tools now that can be helpful, desk workstations that raise the screen of the tablet or laptop are a great start, especially for children in schools. If your children are using a tablet at home, get them to use it lying on their stomach. This means they need to lift their head up and extend the spine.

Finally, undertake an exercise program that will reinforce good posture and movement and will help to strengthen the neck, shoulders and upper back.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, sit up tall and Google ‘text neck’ to see the information that’s out there.