Technological advances can be a (literal) pain in the neck, thumb, and back, says American Physical Therapy Association spokeswoman Patrice Winter, a Fairfax, Va.-based physical therapist. Here, the most common modern maladies and how to get relief.
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Writing emails with your thumbs can lead to numbness, pain, or fatigue.
Rx: A few times throughout the day, open your hands as wide as possible, spreading all the fingers, and then close them into fists.
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Looking down toward a laptop screen places your head in a forward position, putting pressure on the upper cervical spine (where the neck hooks into the skull) and lower cervical spine (where the shoulders meet the neck). You’ll feel tension and pain in the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
Rx: Every 20 minutes, get up and move around. When seated, keep legs uncrossed with some weight on your feet (as if they form a tripod with the chair). Crossing your legs creates an unbalanced, narrow base of support, requiring the torso to work harder to stay balanced.
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Holding a cell phone (or any phone) between your neck and shoulder can hurt your nerves, ligaments, and muscles, setting you up for a bulging disk. This could start by feeling like a stiff neck, and lead to pain radiating down the arms.
Rx: Use the speaker option or a headset.
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