Monday, May 13, 2013

Posture Check-List for Using Your Devices

New and varied technology is being developed so quickly, that these rectangle screens on which we view content, make content, send emails and messages, and place phone calls are generally being referred to as "devices".  A nice blanket word for a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or tablet that morphs into a laptop, and vice-versa.

If we thought that we were developing back, neck and shoulder pain sitting at a desk in front of a computer, we now don't even get a rest from our technology-induced postures when we are on the go.  The good news is that using a device does not have to be synonymous with strain.  

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using your devices:

1.  Move down, don't drop down - Typing on a smartphone or tablet usually involves holding it far than your eyes and looking down at it.  What causes strain is when you collapse down toward the thing that you are looking at.  Resist the urge to push your chin forward and sink down into your chest.  Instead of collapsing down, move down.  Start by looking at your device by first only moving your eyes, then let your head tilt by moving your brow first, not your chin.  

2.  Lift your device higher - This may seem obvious, but it is commonly ignored.  Move your device closer to your face with your hands so that you don't have to move down as far to see it.  Make sure that you don't lift your shoulders or pull your shoulder blades together as you lift.

3.  Less "work" doesn't mean less strain - Touch screens and the soft keyboards on laptops hardly require any effort to use . . . hardly any effort for the finger that is touching them, that is.  The low impact-typing that is required can actually be more of a strain than a relief.  The keys on ergonomic keyboards are designed like the old-school keyboards from the 80s and 90s.  You actually have to exert some effort to press the keys down and that effort demands that your arms, back, and even your legs be  engaged in a very positive way.  When softer pressing is required, it begs very little support from the rest of the body.

You may find it useful to purchase an ergonomic keyboard at your desk, but when you are out and about with your device, give yourself an extra reminder to be aware of your feet on the ground and of your back and neck and head as you touch-screen-type.  Also, imagine that the sensation of your finger touching the screen is traveling through your arm all the way to your back.  
If you really want to experiment with high-impact typing, then invest in a typewriter!  Kidding!  (Sort of.)


  1. I hadn't quite realized the effect that using touch screens can have, but that makes so much sense. These are great tips for anyone using a "device." I don't think I'll be getting a typewriter any time soon though ;)

    1. I don't think I will either! I can't imagine not being able to hit back-space. Going back to a typewriter could be a great exercise in presence. We can get really sloppy digitally and it doesn't matter because it's so easy to fix or the device fixes it for us.

  2. Great, important, practical post, Lindsay!
    Thanks for helping to simplify the Alexander Technique.

  3. oh how I love the use of common sense, especially in an Alexander context! lovely, practical advice. Karen

  4. I loved all the tips for using a "device". what a game changer not to pull the chin forward and crunch down to look down. A revelation for human potential! Thanks for a great post!