• The Impact of Bad Body Postures When Using Smartphones and Physiotherapy Solutions.

    The Effects of Smartphone-Induced Poor Posture on Health and Effective Physiotherapy Interventions.

    In today’s digital age, smartphones have become an integral part of daily life. While they offer numerous benefits, excessive use often leads to poor body posture, which can have detrimental effects on health. This article explores the adverse consequences of bad body postures associated with smartphone use and outlines physiotherapy solutions to mitigate these issues.

    The Consequences of Poor Posture

    Text Neck Syndrome

    One of the most common conditions resulting from poor posture while using smartphones is “text neck.” This term describes the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at a mobile device for prolonged periods. According to Hansraj (2014), the human head weighs approximately 10-12 pounds in a neutral position. However, as the head tilts forward and downward, the effective weight on the cervical spine increases significantly, causing strain and discomfort.

    Upper Back and Shoulder Pain

    Extended periods of hunching over a smartphone can lead to upper back and shoulder pain. The slouched posture places undue stress on the thoracic spine and surrounding muscles, leading to chronic pain and discomfort. Szeto, Straker, and O’Sullivan (2005) found that prolonged static postures and repetitive movements associated with smartphone use contribute to musculoskeletal discomfort in the upper back and shoulders.

    Lower Back Pain

    While less obvious, poor posture during smartphone use can also affect the lower back. When the spine is not aligned properly, the lower back compensates, leading to muscle fatigue and pain. According to a study by Kim and Kim (2015), prolonged smartphone use with poor posture is significantly associated with lower back pain among young adults.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Frequent typing and swiping motions on smartphones can lead to repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The repetitive nature of smartphone use can exacerbate this condition, leading to numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and wrists (Atroshi et al., 1999).

    Physiotherapy Solutions

    Posture Correction Exercises

    Physiotherapists recommend specific exercises to help correct poor posture and alleviate pain caused by smartphone use. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles that support the spine and improving flexibility. Examples include:

    • Chin Tucks: This exercise helps strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper back. To perform a chin tuck, sit or stand up straight and pull your chin back, creating a double chin. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
    • Shoulder Blade Squeezes: This exercise targets the upper back muscles. Sit or stand with your arms at your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds, and repeat 10 times.
    • Thoracic Extensions: This exercise helps counteract the forward hunch. Sit on a chair with a backrest, place your hands behind your head, and gently arch your upper back over the backrest. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

    Ergonomic Adjustments

    Making ergonomic adjustments to how smartphones are used can significantly reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal problems. Physiotherapists suggest the following tips:

    • Hold Your Phone at Eye Level: This reduces the need to tilt your head forward and helps maintain a neutral spine position.
    • Use Both Hands: Typing with both hands and alternating fingers can distribute the strain more evenly and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
    • Take Frequent Breaks: Regular breaks from smartphone use can prevent muscle fatigue and strain. Physiotherapists recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

    Manual Therapy

    For those already experiencing pain and discomfort, manual therapy provided by physiotherapists can offer relief. Techniques such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation can help alleviate muscle tension, improve joint mobility, and reduce pain (Koes, van Tulder, & Thomas, 2006).

    Education and Awareness

    Education on the importance of maintaining good posture and ergonomic practices is crucial. Physiotherapists play a key role in raising awareness and providing guidance on how to use smartphones in a way that minimizes health risks.

    The widespread use of smartphones has led to a surge in musculoskeletal problems related to poor posture. Conditions such as text neck, upper back and shoulder pain, lower back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are increasingly common. However, physiotherapy offers effective solutions, including posture correction exercises, ergonomic adjustments, manual therapy, and education. By adopting these practices, individuals can mitigate the adverse effects of smartphone use and maintain better overall health.


    Atroshi, I., Gummesson, C., Johnsson, R., Ornstein, E., Ranstam, J., & Rosen, I. (1999). Prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome in a general population. JAMA, 282(2), 153-158. doi:10.1001/jama.282.2.153

    Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical Technology International, 25, 277-279.

    Kim, H. J., & Kim, J. S. (2015). The relationship between smartphone use and subjective musculoskeletal symptoms and university students. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(3), 575-579. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.575

    Koes, B. W., van Tulder, M. W., & Thomas, S. (2006). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. BMJ, 332(7555), 1430-1434. doi:10.1136/bmj.332.7555.1430

    Szeto, G. P., Straker, L. M., & O’Sullivan, P. B. (2005). A comparison of symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers performing monotonous keyboard work—2: Neck and shoulder kinematics. Manual Therapy, 10(4), 281-291. doi:10.1016/j.math.2005.03.003