Healthy Computing: Hold the Phone

Do you tuck the phone when you multi-task, such as searching the computer
for information to answer a question? This habit of raising one shoulder
and tilting your head in an asymmetrical position causes excessive muscle
contractions and reduces blood flow to the muscles. Arm, wrist and hand
symptoms often become aggravated. Avoid tension and lighten the strain in
your neck and shoulders when you HOLD THE PHONE.


When talking on the phone use a headset while simultaneously performing
other tasks such as data entry and writing notes. Headsets are economical
and lightweight and most have good sound quality. Headsets are readily
available for portable and cell phones -making it easier to talk while
working, walking, driving, gardening, cooking or sipping a cooler.

If you do not have a headset and must multi-task when conversing on the

  • Do only one task at a time. Put the person on hold, put the phone down,
    take a breath and smile, perform the task and then pick up the phone and
    continue your conversation.

  • Use a speakerphone.
  • Hold the handset with your hand while talking; switch sides during the

If you absolutely must tuck the phone, do so infrequently and for very
short periods of time. Practice frequent neck and shoulder relaxation
techniques and alternate sides.

Avoid attachable phone rests that claim to make tucking more comfortable.
They DO NOT significantly reduce neck and shoulder tension.

Copyright 2002 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney

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Written by Katherine HughesGibney

Explore Wellness in 2021