There are huge advantages to smart device technology, but it can also have a downside. Your smartphone and tablet give you flexibility about where and how you work, and help you manage your personal business, too.

But your posture and how you hold these devices can become a pain in the neck — and in other parts of your body, too. For example, holding your phone up to your ear for a long time can cause sore shoulders, elbows and neck.

Research into smart device ergonomics (the study of people in their working environment) shows you can help prevent physical stress from extended use of your tools with these strategies:

  • Pay attention to how you are sitting. Keep your head in a neutral position as much as possible and consciously relax your elbows.
    Write fewer and shorter messages. For a long text, use your computer if possible, or use talk-to-text dictation software when you can.
  • Instead of holding your phone to your ear for long conversations, use a Bluetooth headset or another device whenever possible.
  • Use a cover which also doubles as a stand for your tablet, so you don’t have to hold it.
  • Take frequent breaks from your devices and stretch with this exercise from the American Physical Therapy Association: Fold your hands together; turn your palms away from your body as you stretch your arms over your head. Hold for ten seconds; repeat eight times. And stand up when using your devices to reduce long sitting spells.

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