One of the most common and underrated causes of neck, mid-back and low-back pain in the modern age is using one’s phone in bed. This seemingly innocuous activity has proven to be a major cause of spinal stress. There are three basic postures people generally use when on their phone in bed, each presenting its own set of potential problems.
(1) The first posture I will present is the most common, where one is sitting up, knees bent, with pillows propped between one’s back and the headboard or wall. Sitting this way results in a slouching of the shoulders as well as a forward and downward position of the head, which creates a constant stretching of the muscles from the top of the shoulders to the base of the skull. Allowed to continue over time, this can result in neck and shoulder pain/tightness, as well as cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches.
(2) The second posture is similar to the posture described above, except one’s legs are not bent but outstretched. This posture carries the likelihood of incurring the same results as the conditions previously discussed. However, keeping the legs outstretched also places constant pressure on the lumbo-sacral joint, resulting in lower back pain and spasm.
(3) The third posture is where one lays on one’s side with the head propped up by one’s hand and arm. This is perhaps the most dangerous posture as it places great force on the head and neck. It often brings about not only neck and shoulder pain, but also misalignment of the small bones that make up the cervical spine.
The next time you get the urge to read or text in bed consider the above. Find a comfortable chair, desk or table and go for it. Save the bed for what it was best designed – a good night’s sleep! You may wake up free of that nagging neck or shoulder ache!