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Blackberry Back or iphone neck, take your pick!

Blackberry Back or iphone neck, take your pick!


In all honesty, I should send Jim Balsille and those creative geniuses at Apple a fabulous gift basket – maybe one of those edible arrangements?! I really owe them a debt of gratitude for creating a mobile, pain in the neck gadget, I mean, communication device.  It helps my business!

As I go out to bring in my next patient who is complaining of neck pain, I see him huddled over his smartphone. He is slumped overtop of it, as if to hide some top level goverment secret from prying eyes, when he is probably on facebook.

It is the poor posture that can drive pain thoughout the upper back and neck. As an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, I spend a lot of time working to free up the upper thoracic spine and upper cervical spine from being stuck in this not so ‘SMART’ posture. It can be frustrating to find that people go right back to their bad posture (and pain) that brought them here in the first place.

The pace of change is amazing.  Just 5 years ago my focus was to teach people how to practice good posture (ergonomics) while at the computer in the daytime, knowing that they could leave their computers behind and at least ‘straighten up’ at home. Now many of us go from our computer right to our phones and tablets, working 24/7, with very little time to rest and practice good posture.

Now I am not trying to rally against the blackberry/iphone/smartphones/tablets, because new technology is great for communication!  I can now communicate with patients when they are having acute episodes after normal work hours, and check the latest hockey scores.  The key is to be more SMART when using this technology.  So…here are some simple things that may prevent your tecnology from giving you a pain in the neck!

1. Sit up tall when you text and squeeze those shoulder blades together for 5 seconds. (visualize a string attached to the top of your head, pulling you up)

2. Every time you hear a message come in, sit up (refer to #1). Or, set your reminder time to ring every 30 minutes.  Postural cueing really works!

3. Stretch out the muscles in the sides of your neck by taking your ear to your shoulder, pain free.  Hold your stretches 30 seconds three times each side.  Do this a few times each day.

4. Turn off your Phone every now and again.  You may just increase your productivity, according to the latest research. 🙂

5. Take a yoga class every now and again to improve your posture, to open up the front of your body and to relieve tension.  Or try the Cow Face Pose.

David Ellis, DOMP, Diploma In Osteopathic Manual Practice, Oakville & Linda Ljucovic, Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher, Oakville