Mobile Device Ergonomics for Hypermobility

 In Adults

We use mobile devices such as phones and tablets more than we ever have. We are the mobile generation. And while is super convenient, it’s not that great for our bodies. When was the last time you saw someone reading or texting on their phone and they were sitting a computer with good posture?

More often, you will see people hanging about in this hunched over posture.

 

Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors are starting to call some sore necks “text neck”…. you can have a stiff neck, a wry neck, and now you can have a “text neck” (mobile devices neck doesn’t have the same ring to it really). Neck pain is not the only issue we are talking about or seeing happen. Sore thumbs, wrists, forearms, shoulders. Headaches. Eye strain. They are all possible consequences of using mobile devices for too many hours a day and in a less than ideal way.

 

So what can we do to minimise the repercussions of our tech-gen-life?

 

Limit how long we spend using mobile devices. When you have something long to read, open it up on your computer where it is bigger, and you can sit with a better posture (as outlined in Workspace Ergonomics for Hypermobility Part 1). If you have something long to type, again, do it on the computer instead of pecking away at the keys and torturing those thumbs.

 

Be conscious of where you are holding your device in relation to your eyes. Not too close, not too far away. Do you normally need glasses? Maybe wearing them would help (check with your optometrist)!

 

How far forward are you bending your neck to look at your screen? Can you prop up the device, so it’s closer to eye level? Anything you can do to raise the height of it is going to be better than it sitting at lap level. Lap level means a lot of forward flexion of the neck, and this is what will give you “text neck” or that achey, soreness in your trapezius muscles, and often a cracker headache.

 

For tablets & phones, you can get a variety of stands, pillows and other contraptions to help place your technology in a more acceptable (and comfortable) position.

Below I have selected a few of my top picks! (These are affiliate links)

Gooseneck iPad Holder is ideal because of its adjustability

For those who use their mobile device in bed: Tablift

iPad Strap is helpful if you have issues with holding your ipad/tablet.

Device pillow allows you to rest the device in an elevated position and leave you with both hands free.

Prop ’n Go Slim allows you to prop up your device at various angles and could be used on a desk, table, in bed etc.

  A new favourite (Dec 2017): The Lazy-Dayz Mobile Mate – it sticks to the back of your phone helping you to hold the phone in a different position.    

*Disclaimer: These are affiliate links. If you purchase through that link, we earn a little money which means we can keep Hypermobility Connect going! We only recommend items which we think will be useful, always with the hypermobile body-type in mind. 
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Michelle is a Senior Occupational Therapist working with people with hypermobility and rheumatological conditions (like arthritis). Michelle is the owner of Hypermobility Connect, an online platform for people with hypermobility to connect with resources, health professionals & each other. Michelle practices OT in her private practice, Rheumi Occupational Therapy

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