By Dr. Jonathan Curtis, Curtis Chiropractic, www.curtis-chiropractic.com.
You’re probably reading this article staring down at a smartphone, tablet or at your computer at work while sipping on steaming coffee and trying to remember to write two sets of 20 for the date.
While sitting, a forward head posture puts tension on the spine and muscles at the base of the skull. When you’re working on a computer or looking down at your phone the muscles in the back of the neck have to contract to keep your head up.
The more you look down, the harder your muscles work to keep your head up. This forward head posture in conjunction with rounded forward shoulders leads to something called “Tech Neck”.
Prolonged sitting is a global problem that leads to chronic disease and injury causing muscular imbalances and affecting every major system in the body. Its effects are subtle but cumulative.
Tech neck has been linked to headaches, heart disease and neurological problems.
Each time you hunch over your phone you’re limiting oxygen uptake, putting pressure on the blood vessels surrounding the heart, and increasing the probability of chronic arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis not to mention neck pain.
But Dr. Curtis, I work a 9-5 job in which I have to sit. What can I do? Great question.
Below are 5 ways to combat tech neck when you are forced into prolonged sitting.
1) Change how you hold your phone
The goal is to be able to reduce looking down toward the floor. Try bringing your phone up to your eyes instead of your eyes down to your phone. The same thing can be said for your computer.
2) Bruegger’s Posture Break Stretches
Sit up as tall as you can and try to pinch your shoulder blades together behind you as you look up at the ceiling. This will help strengthen the rhomboid muscles, which play a vital role in posture.
3) Activity outside of work
The recommendation of moderate intensity exercise is 150 minutes per week. That means every day at least 22 minutes should be attributed to exercise. This will help with overall posture.
4) Camel Pose Yoga
Always work within your own range of abilities.
5) See a Professional
Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, and Yoga instructors can play an enormous role in combating Tech Neck. They will be more than happy do give you additional ways to help.
Before starting an exercise regiment, be sure to consult your doctor.
Make it a great day.