How Looking Down at Your Cell Phone Affects Your Spine


You find yourself looking down at your phone more often than you are looking up. We have become a multi-tasking world, looking at our phones while conversing, walking, exercising, etc. It is hard to resist this computer which sits in our hands and provides us immediate information. Unfortunately, studies have continued to discuss the deleterious effects of looking at small screens, the blue light keeping our brains awake, the changes in socialization, as well as, the biomechanical strain to our body. Look around and note a person’s posture during cell phone use.  Typically, a person is in slumped positions, the head markedly forward hanging down in front of them and their eyes are fixed on a screen. This strain to one’s muscular and spinal systems will inevitably contribute to headaches, jaw pain, poor breathing and digestion due to diaphragm position and constriction at the trachea, and low back and pelvic pain.  The reality is our phones are here to stay, and if anything, they will get smaller versus larger only exacerbating the problem. So be proactive and fix your posture.

Ideal posture has been shown to help with improving mood, learning, breathing, digestion and easing pain. What is ideal? If sitting or standing, the ear and shoulders align bringing the neck into a position where there is a slight curve and the head is not jetted forward. Shoulders are aligned with the hips as you sit on top of your sit bones. It you are sitting back of your sit bones; you will flatten your low back. If you sit to far forward, you might hyperextend your low back and/or pitch the upper body too far forward. In sitting, provide your thighs support and feet on the floor. In standing, legs are straight with knees soft and facing forward.  Hips, knees and ankles are aligned with equal weight placed between the balls of the feet and heels. When standing upright, there is a tendency to stand out versus up. Standing “out” means the lower front ribs tend to flare out, whereas standing “up” means to lengthen from the crown of the head.  When using your phone, do your best to bring the phone up to meet your eyes while pulling the shoulders away from the ears. Working with clients, there is often a feeling of “I can never achieve that position.”  I reiterate, there is an ideal but there is also a reality, do the best you can!

Being in an ideal position may feel exhausting due to muscular fatigue. Here are exercises building muscular strength and endurance while challenging postural stability.

Perform all exercise for 30-45 seconds or 10-20 reps. Repeat 1-3 times.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top