Find a Way to Keep Your Head Up

Over 52 hours of work this week! My pay check looks happy, but my back and neck have been killing me. I’ve been averaging about ten hours of desk work a day for the past “who knows how long”. I try to keep my posture as straight as I can, but after so many hours I find gravity takes over and I find myself slouched forward and down; and that’s just at my job.  Many jobs entail workers to sit for these long periods of time forcing stress on the neck and resulting in forward head posture.

Forward head posture, “which causes exaggerated forward curve in the lower cervical vertebrae and exaggerated backward curve in the upper thoracic vertebrae to maintain balance; this is known as the forward head posture (turtle neck posture). Turtle neck posture is becoming increasingly common. Now, not only can you use a computer at your desk or at your job; you can get a smart phone and use a computer anywhere you go. It is becoming more common to use these smart phones, as they are becoming more and more popular.

According to the National Statistical Office, “With an increasing amount of people in possession of a computer and an extended internet network, the weekly mean time that a person will spend at a computer has dramatically increased, from 5.9 hours in 1997 to 14.6 hours in 2003 and increasing! Also, 56.2% of computer users use the machine for 10 hours a week or greater.” Furthermore, over these last few years with the advancing of cell phones, as well as all the other technological devices, most of us find our necks in misaligned positions and are continually going through this abuse on a daily bases.

All the advances in technology are great, but in moderation. I think we are in dire need to get our young generation outside and moving for some real activity. At such a young age we are seeing our kids already addicted to games and cellular devices. The body needs physical activity and movement to develop naturally and not develop these long term neck problems that seem to be effecting kids and young adults at younger and younger ages.

An interesting fact by Renee Calliet, M.D., states that “if the head weighs 10lbs and the center of the ear sits directly over the center of the shoulder, the load on the spine and its tissue is only 10lbs. However, if the head is translated forward, its weight will increase by 10lbs for every inch forward it is. In effect, if the center of the ear is three inches forward from the center of the shoulders, the weight of the head on the spine/ discs/ joints and nerves is 30lbs.!

More interesting research….. A study was conducted on “The Effect of The Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Workers.” “Ann Rehabil Med. February 2012” Thirty participants, who work with computers for over 6 hours per day (Group I), and thirty participants, who rarely work with computers (Group II), were enrolled in the study. “Maintaining balance is affected by many factors, including vision, proprioception, inner ear and vestibular function, cerebellum function, feet location on a surface, difference in length of both legs, muscular strength of legs, medication, aging, heartbeat or respiration, various musculoskeletal disorders and hearing sense. This study showed that heavy computer users had significantly decreased ability to control posture and mobility, compared to the control group.”

Forward head posture is beginning to effect many people’s health and it’s becoming more evident. “Spinal pain, headache, mood swings, high blood pressure, irregular pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by poor posture. Observers have recognized that many symptoms, including pain, may be reduced or eliminated by improved posture”. “Source- Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain & Health.

These problems can really add up and have an effect on anyone. Besides just working on sitting up straight, we can take into consideration other methods to help us improve our forward head posture.

Final take a ways: there are plenty of resources available if you just seek for help; you can go to your local chiropractor and get an opinion; getting your body adjusted may be a necessary step for getting your spine back in alignment. Also, here’s a few tips to work on in your daily life. #1. Stand up and move around every 35 minutes when you are preforming desk work for long periods of time. #2. Support your back when driving or sitting with a firm cushion or pad. #3. Always strengthen your back through moderate exercise or practicing great posture. Have a well life and never get to ahead of yourself, if you know what I mean…..

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