If you are reading this blog on a handheld mobile device or on a laptop, stop what you are doing and make sure that your neck and spine are positioned at a natural, comfortable angle to avoid a spinal cord injury in the making.

The SFGate reports that more doctors are documenting cases of spinal cord injuries dubbed “Blackberry Neck” that are caused by the positions we put our bodies in so that we can use mobile phones and portable computers.  In fact, it is getting so bad that pretty soon doctors are going to develop a separate type of paralysis treatment to help fix the damage we do to our neck and spine using everyday electronics.

The spinal cord injury lawyers at our San Diego law firm are always concerned about the use handheld mobile devices for drivers out on the road, because they distract drivers and cause car accidents that lead to paralysis.  But now they might be doing significant damage to your neck and back, little-by-little, without you even realizing it.

A Kaiser Permanente sports medicine specialist was quote as saying “…we have a much more sedentary lifestyle, and much more computer interfacing with laptops and PDAs and cell phones.  We see a lot of poor posturing, a lot of stress on the wrists.”

These injuries are not as dangerous as a shattered spinal column or spondylolisthesis, but damage is done over time and it will only get worse as technology gets better.  Several weeks ago, Apple announced their new product called the iPad, which is sleek and cool, but will it add to this epidemic?  What is Apple doing to make sure that their product does not put strain on the necks and backs of their customers?

In general, staring at an electronic screen or using a keyboard for typing can have a negative impact on your body’s health.  With laptops, cell phones, and iPods, we typically hold them at a lower angle, forcing us to strain our necks in order to see the screen, giving us “Blackberry Neck” from maintaining bad posture.

So what can be done?  Our paralysis attorneys have the following suggestions for how to reduce “Blackberry Neck” symptoms when using handheld mobile devices:

  • Take a Break:  Been on the laptop for a while?  Staring at your cell phone for a few hours?  Put down the technology and give yourself a breather.
  • Take a Walk:  It is good to readjust your body’s position every 20-30 minutes to make sure it does not put too much weight and pressure on one area for too long.  Get up and move around!  Even just a little bit can help.
  • Take Support: Find a way to support yourself, using your body (for example, your elbows) to bring the screen of your device closer to your head or buy a supplementary item for your device that does not sacrifice your posture while you work.

Our San Diego law firm knows that we, as a society, have become so reliant on technology that there is no way to abandon the use of it completely.  We just want to make sure that when you do use things like cell phones, iPods, and laptops, that you do it in a way that keeps your neck and back strong and healthy.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury or paralysis we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 or please click here for a free consultation with an experienced San Diego paralysis attorney.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until we recover money on your behalf.

Your Take

What other every day suggestions or tips do you have for avoiding “Blackberry Neck”?