Lying on your stomach
Problem: Back issues
Elaine Faverey, a chiropractor at Natural Healing, says: “Lying on your stomach is bad for your posture as it doesn’t support your spine. It increases the pressure on your lower back and pelvis when you’re propping yourself on your elbows to look at your tablet. Over time, this can cause hunching.” Gary Tho, chiropractor at Chiroworks, says: “Your spine and discs get compressed if they’re constantly arched backwards. This creates pressure on the discs, joints and nerves. If your nerves are aff ected, it can result in pain and numbness in the hips, buttocks and down to the feet.” These spinal misalignments and nerve problems do not resolve themselves, and will worsen with time and compromise the functions of your spine and nervous system.”
Solution: Stretch frequently. This can reduce the strain on your posture. Shoulder- and back-strengthening exercises can also help to alleviate the pain, but it’s best to stop using your tablet in bed while on your stomach.
Problem: Shoulder pain
“When you’re lying on your stomach, the tops of your shoulders are tense and contracted. The muscles that stabilise your shoulders are not active, and that can cause weakness in them. That means your shoulders become vulnerable to injury and strain when you move your arms or stretch them away from your torso,” says Gary.
Solution: Get off your stomach. You should sit in a position where your shoulders are relaxed – neither hunched forward nor arched backwards.
Prolonged staring at the tablet
Problem: Eye Strain
Prolonged staring at your tablet can dryout and strain your eyes because of the glare from an overly bright screen.
Solution: Blink more often. When you blink, a layer of tears coats your cornea, which helps to lubricate it and reduce irritation. Periodically staring into the distance can also reduce strain on your eyes. Gary recommends holding your tablet just below eye level, at a distance of about 50-70cm from your eyes.
Lying on your back
Problem: Aching neck
Propping yourself up against pillows with most of the weight on your neck is not a good idea. This position can strain your lower neck as it is flexed forward for a long period.
Solution: Find a position that keeps your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Support both your back and neck with pillows and make sure your shoulders are not raised.
Photo: Getty Images, Illustration: Shaul_heymans@yahoo.com.sg
This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine May 2015.
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