What are we doing to our posture?
In this day and age of such wonderful hand-held technology we are de-volving our upright postures.
In a past post I have described why Sitting is the New Smoking and how sitting for long periods greatly affects body function and chronic pain. This postural problem is now reinventing itself with our youth and their use of smart phones, ipads, and other hand-held devices. Next time you are in a crowd of people, let alone teens & kids, take a look around at those using their smart phones. Are their heads on their shoulders? I doubt it, I’ve been guilty myself.
It is known that the weight of the human adult head is apporximately 12 pounds and it isn’t much less for kids. The postural kicker is that the strain on the neck and upper back muscles exponentially increases with each inch the head moves forward off the shoulders where is was designed to be. (See Figure A). With this forward head posture it begins to lengthen and “lock long” the muscles on the back of the neck and upper back and the muscles on the front of the neck and shoulders as well as the chest.
This posture is not new to any student out there sitting in classrooms and studying for most hours of the day, however with the addition of hand-held phones and tablets there is no longer a break for the body to work on bringing the spine back upright. Eventually, symptoms that begin with a stiff neck end up evolving into a variety of complex problems like numbness in the arms and hands, migraine
headaches, and even breathing problems.
The best solution for this is to avoid a head forward posture as much as possible. However, other solutions include:
Laying flat on the floor without a pillow to change the pull of gravity on the spine
Cable Rows in the gym to strengthen the upper back muscles that are over-stretched
Stretching and/or massage therapy on the chest and front of the neck to help unlock and lengthen those muscles
Do your best to be preventive and be more aware of your posture. Are you slouching right now? Hunching over a smart phone?