Mobile phones really can be bad for your health…

Whilst there is still much debate (and on-going study) into the potential health risk posed by the radiation our mobile phones emit, there can be no doubt that they do us harm in a much more visible way.


You only have to take a cursory glance at the nearest queue for the bus or coffee at Starbucks to see it; people hunched over their phones sending a text, checking the internet or playing a game. And it is this forward leaning posture that can, over time, lead to poor health.


The UCA (United Chiropractic Association) states that poor posture is as big a health risk as obesity and, with so many of us using mobile devices such as phones, tablets and laptops on an almost constant basis, the risks of developing hyperkyphosis (excessive curvature of the upper spine) as we age are very real. In fact, the UCA have pointed out that elderly people with even a slight degree of hyperkyphosis have a 1.44 times greater risk of mortality than those with good spine health.


Part of the problem (according to the UCA) appears to lie with the effect a forward leaning posture has on the heart and lungs; when using a mobile device we tend to hold them at waist level or thereabouts, thus dropping our heads and rounding our shoulders. This effectively compresses the muscles and ribs, making it impossible to take a full breath and so putting strain on your vital organs.


But before we all throw our evil phones to the floor, stamp them to smithereens and go buy a carrier pigeon, let’s be realistic for a second:


The world is now digital. The UN have stated that statistically more people on Earth have access to a mobile phone than a toilet. So we can conclude that the mobile phone, tablet and laptop are not going anywhere. But we do need to develop ways to prevent their over—or improper—use from causing us harm.


The simplest way is being more aware of how we hold our device, our posture whilst using it and for how long.  For instance the UCA recommend holding a mobile phone at eye level to avoid looking down. Taking such measures will help, but the UCA are also urging people to have their posture checked by a registered chiropractor as unfortunately many of us are unaware of problems until they manifest themselves as pain. And by then the damage could already have been done.


It seems then that a preventative approach is the only real defence against the rigours of our modern digital age.


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