The Nipple Rule Will Change Your Life: Top Tips To Fix Your Phone Posture

Dr. Ariel Thorpe

You're probably reading this blog on your phone, right? Check out your arm position. Are you holding your elbows at a 90 degree angle? Forearms extended so your phone screen faces up toward the ceiling or sky? You're looking down at the screen, right? This cell phone posture already feels bad, right? Do you feel neck pain from looking down at your phone? Are you worried about long-term posture problems from cell phones yet? You should be! But there are solutions.

First, try lifting your arms up, elbows still bent to 90 degrees, but such that your elbows are at shoulder height. Now you have to look straight forward to look at the screen, right? 

The low hold position is definitely more convenient but it puts massive strain on your neck and upper back. Check out your smartphone posture in the mirror. Look at the position of your neck when you hold your phone down versus up. Which looks like the healthier more stable option? Definitely holding your head up and looking straight forward will help you avoid neck pain from looking down at your phone and help you avoid posture problems from cell phones.

It can be a challenge to break the old habit of holding your phone down, so at Atlas we have an easy rule you can follow: The Nipple Rule.

The rule is simple: always hold your phone above the line of your nipples. If you do, you will generally hold your head in a more neutral posture, taking the strain off of your spine and nervous system. You may find some discomfort with this in the beginning. Firstly, it requires that you hold your arms up and use your muscles more than you are used to. That tells me one thing: you need to work out more. But of course we will fatigue being in any position for too long, so the solution is to hold your phone in one hand, above the nipple line, and place the opposite hand underneath your phone-side armpit to prop the arm up.

Why is this so essential for your health? For every inch your head leans forward, it adds 10 pounds of weight to your spine. In metric, that's for every 2.5 cm forward your head is, it adds 4.5kg of weight to your spine. When excessive weight is placed on the spine for prolonged periods of time, it puts strain on the joints, the muscles that move the joints, the soft tissue that holds the joints in place, and the nerves that control all of those structures. This can lead to subluxations in the spine, which, over time, can lead to further stress and health problems. The good news is, even if you have subluxations due to cell phone posture, chiropractors can check your spine and nervous system.

If stress and health problems aren't enough of a deterrent for you, forward head posture is also, well, ugly. Good cell phone posture gives an air of confidence and attractiveness that has a ripple effect into many aspects of life including your romantic life, career success, and longevity.

Source:  I. A. Kapandji. The physiology of the joints. Volume 3. The trunk and the vertebral column.

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