The way technology is progressing, we are clocking up the hours when it comes to texting and typing. We are creating terrible poor posture patterns by dipping our heads to impossible angles. You may as well be walking around with some of our weights stacked on your shoulders!
A new study published in Surgical Technology International finds that text messaging can add up to 25kg of pressure on a person’s spine, depending on the angle at which they are texting. This supports a new school of thought in the medical field that deplores many of the modern conveniences we’ve come to love: The toilet, the office chair and the mobile phone. It’s not that these technologies are necessarily evil, but that evolution has moulded our bodies to function best without them.
Your spine is happiest when your ears fall on the same plane as your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are retracted. Without these adjustments, you put added stress on your spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.
Many people, especially our current generation, are currently growing up in this position. Much of the entertainment today relies on a screen of some kind. If it’s not a TV or desktop computer, it’s a tablet or smart phone that sits comfortably in the hand. At the same time, these devices demand that users bend their necks to use it. One estimate suggests that people use these devices for approximately two to four hours per day, meaning that our necks remain bent for 700 to 1,400 hours in a given year.
The remedy to our posture problem isn’t to abolish the technologies. They’ve become an integral part of our lives. My advice is to be a little more mindful with how you use them. While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine, and avoid spending hours each day hunched over.
Here are some suggestions to prevent poor posture or neck/back pain:
• Stop holding your phone by your waist. Instead, lock your elbows in at your waist, raise hands up to shoulder height, keep the shoulders down and back, whilst reading your phone. Keep it in your sight line.
• Try a standing desk at work. Talk to H.R. about this in your workplace. Did you know that Optimum is available to conduct work place assessments for your company? Talk to us about this if you believe your workplace could benefit!
• Don’t text and walk! Not only is this slowing you down, which affects heart rate, cardiovascular fitness and weight loss, it can also affect your biomechanics, since you’re usually not walking straight. Not to mention you could bump into something!!
• Complete a resistance program that is designed to counter balance this postural position which we are spending so much time in. Two crucial exercises to improve your posture are a seated row, using a weight machine, or a Theraband (resistance band). Secondly, pair these with stretching out through your chest, and you will be on your way to improving your posture.