Sep 01 2016

Back pain is one of the most common causes of sickness absence with over 80% of the population suffering with back pain at some point in their lives.

It’s not just lifting heavy weights that can cause back pain. In fact, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, including office-based desk jobs that mean sitting for long periods is one of the main causes of poor posture that leads to chronic back, shoulder, neck and hip problems.

It’s the same with technology. Mobile phones might make communication easier but they’re turning us into a nation of hunchbacks!

Our bodies are a product of what we do on a daily basis and spending hours a day sitting still and/or looking down at your mobile phone or tablet distorts the spine and places undue stress and strain on the bones, muscles and tissues in the neck and shoulders.

October is national Backcare Awareness month; here are some habits to maintain perfect posture and help you to manage your technology exposure…


Sit with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, which allows an approximate 90-degree angle at your knees and hips

Your forearms should be able to rest on the desk with an approximate 90-degree angle at your elbows

Ensure your eye line is level with the top of your computer screen

If you use a laptop, make sure you have a laptop dock. Alternatively, place the laptop on some books to achieve the correct height, and have a separate mouse and keyboard

If you work in an office at a desk then make sure you have a workstation assessment to get the best alignment and posture


  1. Take your lunch break away from your computer and avoid your phone for this time too
  2. Avoid text-neck! Have technology-free hours during the day and keep your phone and tablet switched off for the first hour in the morning and the last hour before bed
  3. Take a 5 minute break every hour from all technology and stretch your neck, back and shoulders. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds - you’ll find some demonstrations of upper body stretches on YouTube.
  4. Neck, back and shoulder massage. If your company offers energising back massages at work, book one as often as possible.  Massage is a great way to relieve muscular tension and improve the energy flow throughout your body


Dr Elisabeth Philipps PhD


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