Looking down at your phone is like having a 60-pound weight on your neck, says spine surgeon
This article is shared with permission from our friends at positivemed.com.
These days, so much work is done sitting down. Computer work, reading, driving, even just watching television. The problem with this is when you let all of your muscles relax, you end up hunching over. This poor posture is ruining today’s generation by making people look older faster and causing back troubles early in life.
People develop a hump in their upper back when the body combats the stress of holding up a hanging head. Bone and fat tissue build up to protect the spine in the upper back, leading to an unattractive hunch. Spine and Health reminds us that this ages people, as well as causes other health problems.
Forward Head Posture, also known as FHP, occurs when the head is displaced over the chest, which in turn causes the shoulders to round forward. FHP affects over 65% of the population. This can cause various health problems, due to the unnatural way the body is forced to sit
Over 90% of people who often suffer from neck pain or headaches suffer from FHP. This issue of poor posture can also cause chest cavity compression, which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen that your lungs take in and their air capacity. When the lung muscles work harder than their oxygen capacity allows, lactic acid forms around the area of those muscles, resulting in cramps and pain.
The LA Sentinel confirms that bad posture leads to several other ailments, such as fatigue, lower immunity, poor appearance, and pain. The human head typically weighs 8% of the entire body mass. For every inch that the head naturally sets itself forward, its weight on the body doubles, which causes the neck, shoulder, and back muscles to compensate for the weight. These muscles are then forced to overwork themselves to support the strained head. This results in pain and fatigue.
Poor posture can cause lower immunity due to its resulted tension in the spinal cord. This tension causes an interference in the signals that he spine sends through the nervous system that controls our immunity, digestion, and hormone release. A blocked autoimmune system can wreak havoc on your body.
Not only can FHP make you look shorter in stature, it can also make you look heavier. When you stand up straight with your head aligned with your spine, it naturally pulls your belly in and your chest out. This lets your body distribute itself evenly, causing you to not have the bulge in your stomach that you may have if you are bending over. Fixing this may also make you feel more confident as you are standing up straight.
Wait there’s more…
The amount of time we spend sitting down is not the only thing in our everyday lives that harm our health. Below is report that was published on lifehacker.com, which explains how the way that we look at our cell-phone is also damaging to our spines.
According to lifehacker:
“Our cell phones and tablets have transformed the way we hold our bodies—and not for the better. Looking down at your device is like having a 60-pound weight on your neck, according to a spine surgeon.
That’s like having an eight-year old sitting on your head while you’re standing trying to read your text messages, The Atlantic points out.”
It may seem like there is no hope because our modern-day lives are made around the use of our cell phones, but don’t give up yet. Dr. Kenneth K. Hansrai, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, outlines ways we can hold and look at our phone without harming our body.
Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj developed the computer model above. As you might expect, moving your head forward and having that amount of force on your neck and spine isn’t good for your health—and the average person spends two to four hours a day in this position.
Dr. Hansraj’s paper, published in the Surgical Technology International journal, notes that good posture is having your ears aligned with the shoulders and your shoulder blades back. This lowers body stress and decreases cortisol. Poor posture, on the other hand, stresses the spine and can lead to early wear, tear, generation, and maybe surgery.
A few solutions:
Hold your phone straight in front of you instead of bending your head down, place your tablet at a 30 degree angle when typing or tapping (the angle protects your wrists) or more perpendicularly if just reading, and stretch your neck back to correct a forward neck posture.