Binge-watching programmes in bed could be to blame for your bad back, an expert has warned.
According to Damian McClelland, Bupa UK’s musculoskeletal services clinical director, if you want to ease back pain, you should stop slumping over your phone or tablet in bed.
”When we lie or sit in bed to watch TV, or check emails on our phones or tablets, we tend to slouch and look downwards which isn’t good for our posture,” he exclusively told HuffPost UK.
“This usually means we’re not supporting our spine or head (generally the heaviest part of our body) properly. This puts a lot of strain on the muscles and joints in the neck.”
McClelland said the risk to back damage increases further if you’re watching content on a phone or tablet when it’s plugged in, because “you’re at the whim of a tiny wire”.
“If you find you often have to change position because you get pins and needles or a dead leg, or you’re just plain uncomfortable, that’s your body reminding you that you’re not in a good position,” he added.
“Not only is this painful at the time, but poor posture can have long term implications on your health, potentially leading to long term lower back, shoulder and neck pain affecting your work and social life.”
He stressed that if you do not change your habits, the effects of poor posture can lead to serious chronic pain. But the good news is McClelland doesn’t believe you need to ban Netflix from your bedroom completely.
He gave the following tips for using your phone, tablet or TV in bed:
1. Support your head. Sit upright with pillows behind you, or if you’re lying down ensure you have enough pillows to take your weight.
2. Avoid twisting your body. Keep your back straight with pillow support behind you if you’re on your side. Engage your core to keep your posture straight.
3. Keep your shoulders back and down if you’re sitting upright, not rounded or hunched. Don’t slouch to look at the screen, it should be at eye level like it should be when you’re at a desk.
4. Add some stretches to your Netflix routine. Put your hands above your head, reach up and at the same time stretch your feet down for a nice full body stretch. Also put your hands in the small of your back and push your chest out for a good lower back stretch.
5. Try to charge up your tablet or phone before using it, so you don’t end up spooning the plug socket.
6. Limit your phone or laptop use in bed. Definitely don’t do it just before bed, as it could interfere with your sleep cycle.