Spinal back shape and posture in sitting and standing: Effects of using a mobile phone

Josette Bettany-Saltikov, Keith O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Changes in back shape during the use of mobile phones have been linked to an increased risk of musculoskel- etal disorders (MSD). A survey in Canada among 137 university students, staff and faculty demonstrated that participants spent 4.65 hours daily on mobile handheld devices. By the end of 2016 it is anticipated that global text messaging frequency will have risen to 9.4 trillion, up from 5.9 trillion in 2011 (Clark-Dickson, 2012). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between spinal shape and posture during the use of mobile phones in sitting and standing. It also aimed to find out if there was a difference in spinal angles in sitting com- pared to standing. Methods:This comprised of a convenience sample of 17 healthy young adults, aged 18-40 years. Following measurements of normal back and neck shape in each position; each subject was asked to complete a texting task with both hands in a standing and seated position where, participants` measurements was retaken using the Microscribe 3DX Digitiser. Results: In the cervical spine there was a significant difference of 7.8° in cervical flexion for sitting without a mobile phone and sitting with a mobile phone ( p = .001). Equally, for the standing posture there was a signif- icant difference in standing when not using phone and standing when using the phone (p = .000). Specifically, these results suggest that when using a mobile phone, the range of cervical flexion significantly increases by 7.8° in sitting and by 12.6° in standing. These results together with Hansraj 2014 description of text neck both point to a massive increase in this condition. In the thoracic spine a significant difference of 12.7° in thoracic flexion was found when sitting without a mobile phone and sitting with a mobile phone (p = .001.) In the stand- ing posture there was also a significant difference of 12.8° when standing without using a phone and standing using a phone (p = .000). These results suggest that when a mobile phone is in use thoracic flexion significantly increases in both the sitting and standing postures. In the lumbar spine there was a significant difference for sitting without a mobile phone and sitting with a mobile phone (p = .000). In the standing posture there was no statistical significant difference in the score for standing without phone (M=-40.6368, SD=14.83882) and standing with phone (M=-34.3913, SD=17.67755 p = .087). Although this result is not statistically significantly different it is very close to p<0.05, suggesting the existence of a significant trend. It is highly probable that a type 2 error occurred meaning too few subjects were used. The results suggest that mobile phone use has a greater effect on the lumbar spine when sitting but less of an effect in standing. In conclusion the use of a mobile phone is associated with increased spinal flexion in both sitting and standing . This results of this study demonstrate the possibility of identifying, from back shape, those at risk of MSD and suggest that there is a need for physiotherapists to start educating those at risk to be aware of and to avoid prolonged flexed spinal positions in both sitting and standing when using a mobile phone.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018
EventSOSORT XIII International Meeting - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Duration: 19 Apr 201821 Apr 2018

Conference

ConferenceSOSORT XIII International Meeting
CountryCroatia
CityDubrovnik
Period19/04/1821/04/18

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    Bettany-Saltikov, J., & O'Sullivan, K. (2018). Spinal back shape and posture in sitting and standing: Effects of using a mobile phone. Paper presented at SOSORT XIII International Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia.