“Text neck” or The Number One Way You’re killing Your Posture

Good posture is crucial for optimal health. Nowadays people are concerned about healthy lifestyle, which of course includes exercising, and eating clean. But working on having a good posture is as important as healthy nutrition. Not only does bad posture lead to back pain, but also fatigue, decreased energy levels and internal dysfunctions.

If we look at the research, many studies point to the conclusion that a straight or reversed curve in the neck results in stretching of the nerves, which supply the input to the cortex, the thinking part of the brain. Neck posture also has a vital influence on the brain structures responsible for the autonomic nervous system. This in turn regulates heart rate, lung and heart function as well as the whole digestive system. Moreover neck posture has a profound effect on vision including the eye co-ordination and focusing muscles.

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In our contemporary world we cannot avoid technology and people have become addicted to their smartphones and other gadgets. If you look around you will see the vast majority of people with a forward head posture whether sitting, walking or standing. Nowadays there is even a special term for that called “text neck”. The average head weighs about 12 pounds and if you spend a long period of time with a forward head posture – the pressure on your cervical spine is enormous.

You may be surprised, that the conclusion of a piece of recent research on this topic concluded that: “when you bend your head forward at 15 degrees, its weight effectively increases from 12 pounds to 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, your head exerts 49 pounds of force, and at 60 degrees, 60 pounds—this is like carrying a child around on your neck and shoulders for several hours a day!”

Therefore as a result a person with a “text neck” is much more prone to headaches, neurological problems, herniated discs, and muscle strain.

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Our present daily activities are constantly driving us into a forward bent posture with rounded shoulders and head jutted forward. Sitting at computers, driving, texting and playing with hand held computer games has turned us all back toward the fetal position, totally flexed forward at the neck and the low back and lower body. However, since we are aware of the problems this can cause, we should work on improving our posture. Useful ergonomic advice would be to use a monitor with bigger screen at eye level instead of the laptop and to keep a smartphone 15 degrees below eye level while holding your head high.

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There are basically three positions, in which to consider improving your posture: lying, sitting and standing and walking.

Lying

Your bed must be correct. Too soft, or too hard can cause poor sleeping posture and result in waking with pain. Sleeping on your tummy can also cause serious problems to both your neck and lower back. A good, well supporting pillow of the correct size for you is also essential. Our bodies heal during sleep, so if your rest is poor, your body will be slow to heal, giving rise to chronic pain syndromes.

Sitting

Both at home, at school or in work and in your car, all your seating should be appropriate and comfortable. Lumbar support is essential when seated for long periods, and rest breaks should be regularly taken to avoid sustained postural positions. If you work long hours at a desk use a chair that is designed for proper support or try using a small pillow for lumbar support. Position the monitor on an angle a little bit more upwards than you would if you were in more of a slouching position. This will force you to sit upright to see the screen better.

Short exercise breaks are very useful if you do not want to be getting up like an old hag!

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Standing or walking

Practice standing with your back to the wall and you should notice whether your shoulders and head touch the wall.

Head retraction exercises (chin tucks) can help with the poked head posture. Shoulder and upper back strengthening will help to correct rounded shoulders. If your spinal joints are working poorly or fixed, it will be extremely difficult to get good changes with exercise alone.

It can be challenging to obtain a good posture after years being used to a bad one, however people can look at it as new habit formation when in fact you are challenging your body to make basic and complex neurological changes. Maintain good posture even if you are getting tired. After a while you will get used to being in a good posture and see positive changes it will bring. If you cannot do this it might be time to visit a chiropractor.

The majority of patients come for a treatment to get rid of a pain because chiropractors are known for being able to treat painful joints in many parts of the body in particular the spine. However, I highly recommend patients to have their first consultation with a chiropractor when they notice poor posture as a preventative measure. Sometimes I treat children as young as 5 years old who are already developing poor posture.

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Chiropractic treatments consist of a large variety of adjustments for the joints of your spine, together with many kinds of soft tissue work for your muscles tendons and ligaments. Apart from the use of a small device called an activator, all our work is done with our own hands. Usually no machines or medicines are used. Our techniques allow us to relieve pain and other symptoms primarily by treating the cause of your problem, and more importantly for the long term to restore normal function to the whole spinal column and pelvis. In this way you can expect to be healthier after your course of treatment than you were before the problem arose.

When you visit a Chiropractor, the most important task is to evaluate and find the cause of your problem through structural analysis of the body. A Chiropractor may also use orthopedic, neurological or other physical tests, or order X-rays, CAT-scan or MRI to further support the right diagnosis. Only by having an accurate assessment of your condition, followed by the right diagnosis, can any physician deliver the right therapy. When a Chiropractor has identified the areas of the skeletal system that may cause your symptoms, he will then fully ex-plain the treatment plan, expected time for the recovery, and also the expected extent of recovery you may expect.

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People tend to think that they need to go to a chiropractor only when they have pain. Actually the focus may not only be pain and joint problems, but general feelings of tiredness and lack of energy. The World Health Organization states when “employed skillfully and appropriately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems”.

The frequency of treatment varies from patient to patient, that is why we encourage patients to have a check up.

We are well qualified and experienced in creating a whole new picture of optimum health for our patients. To book an appointment for chiropractic consultation and treatment, please call our clinic at 04-348-1166 or book online.