It all comes down to posture. New research shows that bending your head down to look at a phone in your hands increases the head's pressure on the spine from a normal of about 10-12 lbs of pressure all the way up to 60 lbs of pressure on the spine. Also, by bending the head forward, the normal stable spinal curve in the neck flattens out, so all of this extra pressure on the neck is being supported by a less stable neck. No wonder that the ligaments of the neck get stretched, the muscles overwork, and pain syndromes begin!
From an article in yesterday's Daily Mail, which discussed the research:
Writing in the study, the researchers said: 'The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees.'
The loss of the 'natural curve' of the cervical spine leads to increased stress on the neck, they added.
They said: 'These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.'
They concluded: '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 to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.'
The study will be published in the upcoming issue of journal Surgical Technology International.
According to the researchers, bad posture is when the head is tilted forward and the shoulders drop forward in a rounded position.
Good posture was defined as having ears aligned with the shoulders and the shoulder blades retracted.
Previous studies have linked bad posture to a number of health problems, including back pain, weight gain, constipation, heartburn, migraines, and respiratory conditions.
- Put a sign at eye level in front of your desk reminding yourself to gently squeeze your shoulders together and not to slump when you are sitting.
- Smile. Positive 'facial posture' plays an essential part in signaling an upward lift in our mood.
- Eating 200mg of oily fish twice a week will help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Stretch every so often at your desk. Place your hands behind your head, squeeze your elbows together and gently move backwards until you feel a stretch in the tight area of your upper back.
- Persist. Retraining your muscles to keep you in an upright position can seem like hard work at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it becomes.