How smartphones can cause neck pain

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A study in the Journals of Gerontology found that seniors with bad posture are more likely to fall. (WLS)

You may be keeping up to date with your smartphone, but it may be taking its toll on your neck and more.

Georgette Robinson is starting to realize that technology can be a real pain in the neck.

"My shoulder area is really always hard. I always contributed it to stress, but apparently it's not stress, it's because my posture, I'm not sitting properly," Robinson said.

Tilting your head forward just 15 degrees puts an extra 15 pounds of pressure on your neck, and constantly repeating that is bad, especially over time.

"And as a result, that muscle imbalance puts more strain on the joints in the neck. Over time that creates pressure on the nerves in the neck," said Steven Weiniger, DC, chiropractor, BodyZone Roswell.

Weiniger says taking an annual posture photo can help you track it over time. He uses an app called PostureZone to measure Kim Groves' alignment and show her where she needs improvement.

"Your torso is two degrees to the right of your feet. Your pelvis is almost three degrees to the right of your feet. So your body is pulling back and leaning a tad forward," Weiniger said.

"Hardly ever do I think about the way I'm sitting or how I'm answering the phone," Groves said.

While back and neck aches remind Groves to pay better attention to her posture, Weiniger says that's only a good first step. Next change: your smartphone.

"Best way to use your phone is sitting tall, head level, back toward over your shoulders, shoulders back and down, elbows into your side, phone up so you're looking straight ahead at it," Weiniger said.

Other remedies for tech neck: stretch regularly and swap your chair for a medicine ball.

"Sitting well on a ball is great because it's unstable and makes you balance. I'm less crazy about a lot of the chairs that give you back support and no support under the bottom," Weiniger said.

Better posture equals better health, especially as we age. A study in the Journals of Gerontology found that seniors with bad posture are more likely to fall and are three-and-a-half times more likely to lose their ability to feed, bathe or dress themselves.

If you would like more information, check out www.ivanhoe.com.

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