Friday, 01 June 2018 14:22

Is your mobile phone damaging your haelth?

We all use them and just about all of us know we are using them far too much. The technology we have literally at our fingertips is unbelievable and, in many ways, has made life so much easier. But what are the real dangers of using our mobile phones and what can we do about it?

My 14-year-old daughter came to me a few weeks ago complaining of neck pain, headaches and that she felt dizzy when she stood up. This had coincided with her getting a new phone for birthday and despite limiting its use to after homework and tea I had been aware that she was still using it more than I would like, particularly at the weekends. So we had a chat about how she sits when using her phone, not for calls (kids don't make phone calls anymore) but for scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or messaging her friends. She quickly realised herself what she was doing and how this was causing tension to her neck and shoulders. We then spoke about blood flow and how it is restricted with the neck looking down and this can quickly cause headaches and neck pain. "But I can't hold your phone up in the air to keep my neck straight dad, that will really hurt my arms!" Was my daughter’s response. And of course she was right, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you correct your posture and the risks to your health are minimal.

1. Use your mobile phone for short periods, 5-10 minutes at a time.

2. When possible use your phone with your back and neck fully supported. If you can also support your arms by way of cushions this will take pressure off your shoulders. When at home the sofa is a good way to achieve this position.

3. When you have finished using your phone do a few simple exercises to pull your shoulders back.

Rolling your shoulders backwards is a good exercise, this is the opposite way from how they are being pulled towards the phone.

Wall push ups are perhaps the best exercise through, they really get the shoulders and spine moving back to where they should be! Stand a little way from the wall and place your hands at shoulder width on the wall at chin height. Now simply do a push up against the wall and feel your elbows move behind the line of your body. This will get your back muscles moving and pull your spine back into shape. It is also another great exercise to get the shoulders moving backwards. And because there is very little strain on the body you can do these often without causing any fatigue. You can do them anywhere there is wall space and we get staff doing these all over the offices when do posture training, after while nobody even notices!

4. Ensure you are exercising enough generally. By keeping active, particularly cardio and stretching will help to keep your body in balance and combat the effects of looking down at your phone. If you leave your phone at home or in your locker it will also ensure you get good regular breaks away from your phone completely. Take advice from a professional if you are have not been active for a long time or if you are unsure about what type of exercise or  exercises will be best for you.

5. Don’t sleep with your phone next to your bed (or if you do turn it off). Having your phone on next to you could be keeping you awake, even if you are not using it. Notifications coming through, the light that comes from the phone and the obvious temptation to use your phone if you can’t sleep will just add to a bad night’s sleep.

6. Don't use your phone when eating. Meal times should be all about you and the food and is a great time to have a break from computers and your mobile phone. If you must take a picture of your food; take the photo, turn your phone off and post the photo after your meal!

7. Rest your eyes from looking at your phone. Looking away from your phone is obviously going to be beneficial but your eyes really do need to focus on other things at other distances. It will prevent eye strain, headaches and even eye damage. Better if you can also take in some air whilst re-focusing your eyes. This will not only help your eyes but fill your lungs with fresh air.

The warnings are also there regarding electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones. We are not going to see if these dangers are founded for many years and hopefully they are not. But the technology is not going away and it is almost impossible not to use it. However, we can reduce the risks by managing how much time we spend using them.

Short posture training sessions a great way to get your staff thinking about how they use their computers and mobile phones.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

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