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Having good posture while using smartphones may reduce consumers' pain, study finds

Experts say consumers of all ages are at risk of developing chronic pain from excessive device use

Teen with bad posture looking at phone
Photo (c) FG Trade - Getty Images
As consumers spend more and more time on their smartphones, researchers continue to conduct studies that explore how that time is affecting overall wellness

Experts from Texas A&M University recently found that spending a lot of time on smartphones can negatively impact consumers’ posture. Bad posture can lead to chronic pain over time, so the team suggests adopting ergonomic interventions that can correct posture issues. 

“When we started this study a few years ago, it was because we had determined that college students were the heavy users of smartphones,” said researcher Mark E. Benden. “Now those same levels we were concerned about in college students are seen in 40-year-olds and college students have increased to new levels.” 

Finding better posture habits

The researchers had over 500 college students complete a 35-minute online survey that asked questions about how much time they spent on different devices, their current stress levels, pain they regularly experience, and their typical posture when using electronic devices. 

Ultimately, the majority of students identified their smartphones as the device they were using most frequently. However, the participants’ pain had less to do with what devices they were using and more to do with how they were positioned while using their devices. 

Very few students reported using their phones while sitting with proper posture in a chair at a desk. Instead, most of the students said they used their phones primarily when sitting on the couch or in other positions that lead to poor posture. The researchers said sitting in these positions most likely contributes to the pain some students may feel. 

To combat this, the team hopes ergonomic interventions that prioritize good posture will become more widely used – especially among those who spend a lot of time on electronic devices. 

“Now that we are moving toward hybrid and/or remote workspaces for our jobs, college students are taking habits formed in dorm and apartment rooms during college into young adulthood as employees in home offices,” Benden said. “We need to get this right or it could have adverse impacts on an entire generation.” 

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