By Rebecca Ejifoma
A Consulting Physiotherapist with St. Joseph Physiotherapy Clinic, Osahon Okodugha, has cautioned phone users across the country to always raise devices to eye level to avoid poor posture, and constant neck pains.
The expert gave this advice following the growing use of mobile phones in the country, as people tend to spend a lot of time on their devices. This, he said, causes long-term problems from poor posture and muscle tightness.
Okodugha said that as harmless as texting can be, it can cause a long term build-up of neck pain.
“The posture one takes when sitting or walking and texting is a bowed head. Doing this over a period of time can damage the muscles at the base of the neck.
“Eventually, the suboccipital muscles, which are located below the neck, lose flexibility, cause pain, and lose the ability to perform their function.
“If you must be on your device, the proper form to take while using laptops and phones is to raise the device to eye level; Ensure that your device is between your shoulders and ears”.
However, the expert noted that staying on the device for a long period can be harmful.
“You should take breaks from devices every 15 minutes and maintain distance from your device. Use wireless earbuds, as they give more room for neck mobility devoid of the restraint of earphone wires,” he emphasised.
Okodugha explained further that there are exercises one can engage in after prolonged use of devices.
“Keep your back as upright as much as possible, and push your shoulders and chin back; while upright, tilt your head to the left slowly, as if you are trying to touch your shoulder with your ear. Hold the position for a second and then return to the normal position.
“Push out your chest. You can also put a small hand towel and resistance band at the base of your neck, and push against the resistance. If you use a resistance band, ensure that the band is pulled forward and is parallel with your gaze.
“Doing these exercises can help you avoid back and neck problems that could arise from prolonged device use.”
He, however, urged people to perform these exercises before problems would arise.
The physiotherapist harped that “everyone who has access to devices should consider making permanent changes in their posture to avoid future complications.”
The expert also highlighted that one of the prevention measures is to make a conscious effort to change one’s sitting position as often as possible.
“You should also be careful about stacking layers of pillows. Laying your head on many can strain the neck and affect your range of motion,” he added.
Part of his suggestions include considering ergonomic adjustments – aligning one’s work space such as furniture in a manner that is suited to one’s body and its dimensional.
Okodugha, therefore, recommended that after performing all these, “you still feel some pain or discomfort, and need further advice or assistance, please consult with a licensed physiotherapist as soon as you can”.