We had a great discussion while taping Health Headlines: The Show this week. (That's my weekend show, airs Sundays at 11am on WBT). While you've probably heard of blackberry thumb, turns out many of us are doing a different kind of damage to our bodies by using our phones. (This came up because of a Baltimore Sun story reprinted in the Charlotte Observer recently)
It's not about electromagnetism or anything like that. It's about posture! I co-host the show with Dr. Russ Greenfield and Alan Tyson, a physical therapist with Architech Sports. Alan says most of us use our phones while we're looking down, all hunched over. That may be okay for teenagers, even if they send an average of 50-100 tweets a day, but as we get older (ahem) it can lead to aches and pains.
Alan says he's seeing evidence at his gym that texting and smart phone use is causing neck, shoulder and back problems. The fix? He says use your phone at eye level – try to hold it up instead of down. He says we should read books like that, too. I sort of laughed at that, so Alan gave me a few easy stretches to help.
Sit on a chair that doesn't have arm rests and let your arms dangle. Stretch on arm down and tilt your head in the opposite direction. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat a few times. Then switch to the other arm and tilt your head in the other direction. If you text a lot, Alan says you need to do that stretch just about every day.
You can hear the whole discussion about texting and neck/back health this Sunday at 11am on WBT. Or download the podcast.