Is being on my phone/tablet bad for my neck

text neck

We get asked all the time, “Is being on my phone/tablet bad for my neck?”

According to new research by Correia (2021) and authors, the association between using our phones and neck pain is not as we may have previously thought.

Here Kristian gives you the latest rundown on the new research, and it may be seen as good news for phone lovers!

This recent study showed that the neck posture we adopt when looking down at our phones doesn’t necessarily put us at risk of getting neck pain. It also highlighted that phone usage doesn’t necessarily contribute to the severity of neck pain felt, nor does it necessarily increase the likelihood that we will feel pain in the neck.

The article instead suggests that some other factors including age and phone usage time contribute to neck pain. Basically, yes you can use your phone BUT remember to change position frequently!! While looking down at your phone isn’t harmful in itself, your neck will not thank you for spending hours glued to the screen in the same position. We also have to consider the impact of other factors that can contribute to neck pain – stress, sleep, activity levels, trauma…and the list goes on.

My tips

  • Think about your screen time. If you work at a screen all day, you will probably find that the body tolerates less use of screens in free time.
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend with your phone between ear and shoulder on calls by using a headset. Desktop phone holders can also be great for making video calls as you can rest your phone and sit back more comfortably for the call duration
  • Save watching lengthy films for the TV or a bigger screen
  • Exercise and stretch your neck frequently. Your chiropractor can advise what’s best for you
  • Adjust the settings on your screen. Most phones now have adjustable brightness, and many even have suggested preset options for night and time lighting. If you’re squinting at your screen your neck and shoulders are more likely to tense up.
  • Put the phone away!! When you’re out with friends and family, do you need your phone out? Make it a habit that when you sit down to eat you put all screens away or turn them off.
  • Consider apps that read aloud lengthy text. It is claimed that you can process information more quickly when you listen rather than read. If you are proofreading a document, it can also be easier to hear a mistake.