I am seeing a staggering number of individuals coming into my office with chronic neck and lower back pain. As soon as they sit down, I know exactly why. Their posture is horrendous. 99% of the time while they are waiting, they are on some sort of device, completely hunched over, rounded lower back, rounded mid-back, both shoulders turned in and their necks are in a flexed down position. This epidemic of structural and functional breakdown is occurring at younger and younger ages (2,3 and 4 years old!), and it’s only getting worse with technology.
People spend an average of 2 to 4 hours each day looking down at their phones while texting, sending an email or just passing time on one of the many social media sites. That adds up to 700 to 1,440 hours a year.
The average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it’s in the upright position. The head becomes several times heavier the further forward your head goes. Bending your head forward 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on the spine; a 30 degree tilt puts 40 pounds of pressure on the spine. Carrying around that extra weight every day eventually leads to early wear and tear on the spine.
Many of us are of the mindset that if it doesn’t cause immediate pain then it must be ok. Wrong! Left uncared for, the wear on tear on the spine will affect us later on down the road and distort proper spinal development. This may cause pain in later years, but even more importantly, if the misaligned spinal bones are interfering with nerve function, many health problems may result in the future.
One thing you need to remember is that your nervous system controls every cell, every tissue and every muscle, so if your nervous system is functioning at less than optimal, you are breaking down faster than you should. And what helps maintain a proper functioning nervous system is the spine that supports your posture. So, if your spine is not ideally aligned, then you are going to eventually develop symptoms associated with the nervous system. Headaches are a great example.
Many of the micro-traumas, particularly those related to posture and position, can be avoided by correct choices. We need to start being more conscious about good posture. When you are on a smart phone or iPad make sure the device is held at eye level. Make sure that your lower back, mid back and neck are all in an upward position. If needed, buy a stand to make sure the device is in a better neutral position and that you are looking up at the device rather than down. Most importantly, try to limit the usage time.
At Sandstone Chiropractic, it is our goal to educate every person that walks through the door about the importance of proper posture and the benefits of chiropractic care. The fact of the matter is that we have a lot more technology in our lives and it is ruining our posture, slowly, daily and we wonder why as adults we suffer from posture related health issues, like neck pain, lower back pain, headaches, etc. Start the process of living a healthier life by always reminding yourself to stand up tall and you will be amazed at how the change in posture translates into a healthier functioning nervous system, and a healthier you.