New study shows how incorrect use of gadgets affects us

Posted on Oct 18 2011 - 3:15am by Julius

A new research conducted by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has revealed that the use of gadgets has an impact on our health. Almost one fourth, or 24 percent, of Brits complain of neck, back or shoulder pain when carrying or using gadgets, while 29 percent of the nation typically carry two or more devices a day with them.

The survey tells how the smartphone-use explosion may have contributed to this problem, with 44 percent of the country who use smartphones a day, spending between 30 to 12 minutes for non-call related tasks, such as surfing the web, using apps, social networking and texting.

Another factor that is linked to smartphone use is the increased use of micro-blogging websites such as Twitter. Over the past year, the service has seen a massive 182 percent increase in mobile users, with the average tweets sent per day coming in at 140 million.

The use of laptops was also revealed to be a major culprit, with 58 percent of consumers in the country use laptops daily, and 27 percent of those say that they suffer from neck and back pain due to laptop use for more than two hours. The adoption of tablet PCs also appears to be another reason, with 18 percent of tablet users use it for more than 2 hours a day.

“There is no doubt that technology plays a significant role in our daily lives, however the knock on effect is that we now carry more gadgets around with us and spend more of our time peering into small screens,” said Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic Association. “It is important that we recognize the potential impact on our bodies and learn to lessen the impact on pressure points with some simple steps. It is particularly important now more than ever with 36% of the nation currently suffering from back or neck pain, up from 32 percent in 2010.”

The British Chiropractic Association devised some tips so you can still use your gadgets without hurting your bodies. These are:

  • When sitting in front of your PC or laptop, sit in chairs that provide full support for your spine and make sure your shoulders, hips and knees face the same direction.
  • Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, and knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand, book or ream of paper to bring it to the right height.
  • The head is a heavy weight and sitting with it forward of your body puts unnecessary strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 40 minutes, less if possible. When you do take a break, walk around and stretch a little.
  • If you carry a laptop use a rucksack design laptop case, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.
  • Try out new gadgets before you buy them to make sure they’re comfortable to use, and spend time setting them up in a way that works well for you.
  • Don’t carry so many items in your bag all the time, only pack what you need each day and avoid ‘doubling up’ on your tech i.e. camera and smartphone if at all possible.
  • If using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, including on your commute, take the time to break position on a regular basis and stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around as this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
  • Avoid surfing and texting whilst walking as your lack of concentration is likely to cause some kind of problem!

The BCA has also devised the Straighten Up UK, a three-minute exercise routine that can be done to improve posture and straighten the spine. For more information, you can visit the British Chiropractic Association website at

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