Smartphones May Put You at Risk for Injury – 10 Ergonomics Tips to Reduce Risk
What are the Risks?
We all do it, we use our smartphone all day long even if it’s giving us pain. Why? Because mobile devices, like smartphones, have become a common means of communication both in our personal lives and at work. The main risks involved with smartphones are to the neck, eyes, and hands. We flex our necks down to look at our phones and read the tiny words on it or type on the little keyboard. Our neck, eyes, and hands suffer the consequences.
“Text Neck” Pain in the Neck
A case study conducted by Dr. Ken Hansraj shows how easily you can injure your neck while using your cell phone.
Dr. Hansraj’s chart indicates the difference in weight depending on the angle of the neck. The deeper the angle of the bend the more weight the neck supports.
Your Eyes May Also Be At Risk
Whether it be the smartphone’s tiny screens displaying tiny images and text or the light, it is important to be cautious and aware of the risks.
Be sure to read blow for our ten ergonomics tips that will help you reduce risk when using your smartphone or most any mobile device.
Many people send over 100 text messages a day via their cell phones according to Pew Research Center. Dr. Meredith Osterman, a physician at The Philadelphia Hand Center warns:
“The thumb is many people’s go-to digit for mobile typing even though it has less dexterity than the other fingers. … Too much typing can overuse the thumb’s tendons, causing tendonitis, or inflammation, which can lead to aching, cramping and throbbing in the area.”
10 Ergonomics Tips to Reduce Your Risk:
- Flip the phone horizontally, so that the letters get bigger and easier to read.
- Most smartphones have a feature to make letters on the screen bigger. The most common way to do this is starting with your fingers in a pinched position touching the screen and pulling your fingers apart until the letters are big enough. The letters should be at least as large as the green serial numbers on the front of a dollar bill.
- Use the speech to text feature when possible rather than typing.
- Hold the phone high enough so that you don’t have to flex your neck forward to look at it. Holding your arms at a 60-degree angle upwards tires your shoulder muscles, so you are less likely to use your phone for as long.
- Go into the phone settings menu and adjust the screen brightness level to about half. Most phones come with a factory brightness setting which is equivalent to looking at a light bulb.
- When choosing a color scheme, the ones which are easiest on the eyes are a white background with black text or a black background with green text.
- Use the phone in a position where there is not glare on the screen.
- When using the smartphone to talk, use the speakerphone option or a headset.
- When possible, place the phone on a stand rather than holding it. There are many styles of stands designed for different types of phones.
- Minimize using the Smartphone to read, text, and surf the web. Remember when you stand your head weighs as much as 60 pounds. So use your phone to do online tasks only when necessary. If you must use your phone, it is better to sit than to stand.
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