Smart Phones, Smart Posture: 6 Tips to Help Maintain Great Posture While Using New Technologies
By: Dr. Kristi Laycraft
Everywhere you look these days children are busy making use of new technologies such as smartphones and tablets, and as a result neck and back pain are becoming a more common complaint in the pediatric chiropractic office. Often kids will opt for a comfortable position while using their tablet and will hunch forward with neck postures that lead to cervical strain and misalignment. This forward hunching position is usually greater with smaller technologies such as smartphones.
Prolonged use with improper posture flattens the cervical curvature and significantly increases the load on the neck and shoulders. Loss of the normal neck curve also leads to stress on the nervous system and interferes with the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. Static positions cause non-specific musculoskeletal pain, muscle stiffness and decrease joint lubrication.
Tablets and smartphones are convenient entertainment and educational tools and their use both at school and at home is rapidly rising. Like many moms, if I am out and about and my son wants to watch Thomas the Tank Engine, I (sheepishly admit to) bringing out the ipad so that mommy can enjoy a peaceful cappuccino and a chat with a friend. Here are some preventative and proactive ways to help the body function and adapt to using these new technologies:
1. Show your child how to sit comfortably and with good posture, with two feet flat on the floor or a stool and the back supported.
2. Place a pillow on the child's lap so he or she can rest their arms and support their tablet or portable gaming device in a comfortable position, enabling them to see the device and use it without hunching forward.
3. Set a timer for 25 minutes and give a 5 minute warning mark that a 30 minute break is coming. On the 30 minute break have a different activity suggestion to get your child moving and the joints in motion. After all, movement is life.
4. Schedule screen-free exercise times and look for activities where core strength muscles are used and strengthened.
5. Use a bluetooth keyboard when typing on the tablet, propping the screen up so it can be seen at eye level or just below.
6. Consider having your child sit on a therapy ball while on their tablet. A dynamic surface can encourage children to use their trunk muscles and promote proper posture.
Dr. Krisit Laycraft is a chiropractor at
Dr. For Moms Chiropractic and Family Wellness Center
who works mostly with children. For more information or to book an appointment please call (403) 247-9301.