How To Fix Head Posture Technology has transformed modern life. It has made it easier for people to communicate, find and share information and quickly and easily navigate through unfamiliar territory. Much of the credit goes to devices like smartphones, computers and tablets.
To gather the information they want and need each day, the average person spend about 5 hours using the devices. But while these devices make it easier to do, see, find and share many things, using them excessively can also have a negative impact on the body. One of the most obvious tolls it takes is causing neck and back pain and a condition called text neck or forward head posture.
Most Americans have a smartphone, a computer or both. And they spend an inordinate amount of time on those devices with their head and neck jutted forward, back slumped and shoulders rounded. Doing this every day strains the body in dangerous ways and leads to aches and pains in the neck and back. Orthopedic spine specialists say this type of poor posture exhausts the upper back and paraspinal muscles. This ‘text neck’ phenomenon is a result of tilting the head forward more than 15 degrees which puts the cervical spine under additional pounds of stress for hours on end. This strains the sternocleidomastoid and causes spinal misalignment. Some people even develop a hump at the C7 vertebrae.
The strain on the sternocleidomastoid and other muscles and the cervical spine contributes to a wide array of health issues. There is extreme tension and stress on the muscles in the lower, middle and upper back. This narrows the windpipe, prevents maximum air intake into the lungs, reduces oxygen levels and impedes brain function. People who spend too many hours hunched over their computers at work and their smartphones and tablets for recreation, increase their incidences of:
- Headaches And Migraines
- Insomnia And Poor Sleep
- Sleep Apnea And Snoring
- Decreased Lung Capacity
- Low Energy And Constant Fatigue
- Neck, Shoulder And Back Pain
- Permanent Nerve, Blood Vessel, Muscle, Ligament And Joint Damage
- Pinched And Trapped Nerves
- Reduced Joint Range Of Motion
- Premature Spine Degeneration
- Curved And Reduced Stature
- Hormonal Health Problems
- Digestive System Issues
- Problems With Balance, Vertigo And Dizziness
- Diminished Athletic Performance
There are a number of things people can do to reduce the incidence and severity of text neck and other head posture issues. The simplest solution is to spend less time hunched over computers, tablets and smartphones. If the nature of your work makes this impossible, then it is recommended that you take a 5 minute break every hour or so to stand up, stretch and walk around. It’s helpful to gently move the head from side to side and forward and back to relax the neck muscles. Stretching into a position where the back is concave and the head and neck are back and holding it for a few seconds also helps.
A Common Problem
Between 65% and 90% of people who own smartphones, computers or both have experienced neck and back pain related to their use. The problem is many people do not realize the aches and pains they experience are caused by their poor posture when using their digital devices. Awareness is the most important step in the masses of people addressing text neck and forward head posture. Many people regularly spend hours in the gym and eat a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet to enhance their health, yet blissfully spend hours each day hunched over their smartphones and computers. This is a problem that needs more promotion.
A Major Digital Age Issue
Dysfunctional head and neck posture and the chronic pain and discomfort to which it leads is a problem that is going to get worse in the digital age unless significant resources are invested to raise awareness of it. Doctors are already seeing countless pre-teens and teens with serious neck and back issues because of their use of digital devices. People are shocked to see attractive young men and women with the stooped posture of old people. Text neck and forward head posture caused by the unchecked use of digital devices is a health killer that shouldn’t be ignored. The chronic pain and discomfort associated with this type of dysfunctional posture must be addressed immediately.
Improving Posture And Fixing Text Neck
Being glued to smartphones, computers and other digital devices for hours each day takes a toll on people’s bodies. But there are some simple steps people can take to improve their posture, prevent the aches and pains in the neck, shoulder and back and address the muscle and bone issues that lead to text neck. Changing the position in which you hold your body to use the computers and other digital devices can help. Concerned health professionals say the slouching position most people take when using their devices has to change if they want to put an end to the insidious text neck epidemic.
Good Posture Matters
Your mother was right all along. Holding your head up, your shoulders back and other forms of good posture is important for your health and your appearance. Ergonomics is part of the solution. Investing in chairs and desks that help you to maintain a more upright posture while you use digital devices at work and at home can pay great long-term dividends. There are many pieces of furniture available today that can help you maintain a healthier posture while you use your computer, tablet or smartphone. Taking the time to research and purchase them can help to prevent the problems associated with text neck and forward head posture.
A New Normal
In order to prevent the aches, pains and myriad potential health problems, people who use the dangerous forward head posture while on their digital devices must make paying attention to body, head and neck positioning the new normal. Being willy-nilly with your body positioning today can lead to dire health consequences in the future. The smart move is to begin right away to sit in a healthier position when using digital devices. You can make it something of a game among your family and friends to catch people in and remind them about slouching and using unhealthy body positing while using digital devices.
Stressing The Cervical Spine
Forward head posture stresses the cervical spine. It can result in pinched nerves, herniated disks and a number of other severe problems. One solution is to ensure you don’t overuse digital technology while using bad posture, This can exacerbate any underlying back and neck weaknesses you may have. Many people today are predisposed to neck and back conditions because of overuse of digital technology as children. If they are not careful with their body positioning even when they work out at the gym, it can make the conditions worse. Their careless use of bad posture can even make doing normally healthy exercises worsen their condition.
Avoiding Injury By Preventing Muscle Imbalances
Keeping your head in a neutral position while using your computer is essential. Making sure you are using chairs, desks and computer monitors that are set at the appropriate height helps. When the monitor is at eye-level, it helps to ensure your head maintains a neutral position. Making sure you adjust your chair so your feet are resting comfortable on the floor while your knees remain at a level just below your hips can make a significant difference in preventing muscle imbalance and avoid injury. With a little practice and diligence proper sitting posture can become a habit.
Listen To Your Body
If you’re not sitting up straight when you use your computer or smartphone, your neck and back will begin to feel uncomfortable. That dull ache is your body signaling your that you need to improve your posture. Don’t ignore those signs. Instead, take a few seconds to adjust your chair and stretch your neck and back to help them to relax. With a little practice setting your chair at the right height and holding proper posture will begin to feel more natural. Gradually the aches and strains will dissipate and correcting your posture will no longer be a struggle. Solidifying your posture will pay huge health dividends in the long run.
Take Frequent Breaks
If you have to spend several hours at your computer, set reminders on either your phone or your computer so you frequently take breaks. A helpful practice is every hour you should take a two to five minute break. This allows your neck and spine to reset and can make a significant difference in reducing your chances of suffering from forward head posture or text neck. For students and office workers who routinely use computers on a daily basis, those frequent breaks can make all the difference in the world in preventing chronic neck and back problems from plaguing them later in life.
Get Regular Massages
Regular massages can go a long way towards preventing serious neck and back problems caused by spending too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone. A trained masseuse can use a variety of techniques to relax your neck and back muscles and help to keep your spine in proper alignment. Paying a small fee to have a professional massage done a few times a week can end up saving you from excruciating pain and spending thousands of dollars to repair your back as you get older. It is a small investment to make in your long-term health. Plus, it will make you feel better in the short-term and help you enjoy a better quality of life as well.
Preventing Text Neck
Almost 7 out of 10 American adults owns a smartphone. And every one of them are in danger of developing text neck. That’s because the average person tilts their head forward at a 60 degree angle when viewing their phones. Recent research done at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine showed that tilting the head at a 60 degree angle adds as much as 60 pounds of additional stress on the cervical spine. Doing this for several hours each day can quickly lead to text neck. The solution is to simply bring the phone to eye level when using it rather than slouching over into a forward-head posture.
Preventing Neck Stiffness
Whether you are on a computer, a tablet or a cellphone for several hours, you can begin to develop stiffness in the neck. One easy way for people to address this is with a series of neck rotations. Some spine specialists say doing something as simple as taking a few minutes every hour to rotate the neck can prevent neck stiffness. You don’t need any special training to do this neck exercise. All you have to do is gently move your neck from left to right and back again. Simply moving your neck to the left and the right 10 times each will help to relax the neck muscles and prevent a still neck and text neck.
Stretching And Strengthening Key Muscles
Another way to prevent the nagging neck and back pain associated with text neck and forward head posture is by regularly stretching and strengthening the muscles in the neck and back. Visiting a physical therapist can provide you with professional guidance and some effective techniques as you go through the process of stretching and strengthening the muscles directly impacted by text neck and forward head posture. However, there are a number of posture exercises you can do on your own to build, balance, strengthen and stretch your neck and back muscles and combat the technology-induced muscle and cervical spine problems.
Shoulder Blade Pinches
This simple exercise can help to strengthen the back muscles that have to bear the extra 60 pounds when you slouch over your computer. All you have to do is sit or stand with your back straight. Then push your shoulder blades together while moving them back. Remain in that position for a few seconds. The front part of your shoulders will feel like it is stretching and rolling back. Release and repeat until you have completed 10 reps. Doing this once an hour during the day will help to relieve the stress in your shoulder and make the muscles in the upper part of the back stronger.
Stretching The Pectoral Muscles
Another negative impact of slouching over to use your cell phone, tablet or computer is that it leaves your pectoral muscles short and weak. A good way to counteract this is by stretching your pecs three or four times daily. A simple and easy way to do that is by standing in a doorway, raising your elbows to shoulder height and putting your forearms against the door frame. Move one foot forward, pull your shoulder blades together and lean into the door gently. Stay in that position for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat. In you continue to do this regularly, you will stretch and strengthen your pectoral muscles.
This exercise is great for your posture. It helps to strengthen the muscles in your neck and gradually moves your head back into proper alignment. All you have to do is sit up tall and keep your chin in a position that parallel to the floor. Then, while keeping your head straight, gently pull back your head and chin as though you are making a double chin. Move your head backwards slowly and gently. The muscles in the back of your neck feel like they are gradually being stretched. Hold for a few seconds, then relax and let your chin move forward. Do this for 10 reps. It is recommended you do this exercise several times a day.
A Simple Goal
The goal of the recommended exercises is to stretch, relax and strengthen the key muscles impacted by forward head posture and text neck. The recommended exercises, changes in posture while using digital devices and adjustments to the chairs, desks and computer monitors at work and at home are simple, easy and effective to protect your health. But you must them consistently so they become second nature. If you don’t address your improper posture while using your digital devices, it can do irreversible damage to your neck and back. Some people even end up with an ugly ‘Dowager Hump’ on their back.
Start Right Away
There are several steps you can take to reverse forward head posture and prevent text neck and chronic back pain. However, it’s important to start right away to create an effective combination of exercises and adjustments to your chairs and desks to make them more ergonomic and ensure they provide the support you need. Assuming proper posture while using computers, tablets and smartphones must become a habit you embrace and are committed to following. When you combine that with a series of exercises designed to strengthen, stretch and relax the muscles in your neck and back you will be helping to ensure your neck and spine are properly aligned and you enjoy good health as you age.