It’s that time of year again when lots of you will be hoping for new gadget's for Christmas, maybe a new smartphone?, maybe a new tablet? maybe both? So it feels like a timely reminder to talk about how we uses these devices. While I have never met anyone who has admitted to an ambition to turn themselves into a hunchback, walking around London you see lots of people head down, rounded shoulders hunched over a device. This posture looks as though they are practicing to be a hunchback in later life and leads to "text neck".
So while I often talk to my clients of the importance of posture at their desks, its equally important when you are using gadgets. Ideally the head should sit directly on the neck and shoulders, like a golf ball sits on a tee. The impact of of having your head forward and looking down is that you strain your neck & upper back muscles. The result can be tired, achy muscles and tension headaches.
Remember if your 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, it’s 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 center of the shoulders, the weight of the head on the spine and its discs, joints and nerves is 30lbs.!*
So what if you know, your posture when using your smartphone or tablet? Well all is not lost, why not try the following exercises:
Stand against a wall with a small pillow at your mid-back, move your head back to touch the wall, hold for a count of 3and do 20-25 reps.
Lay face down on the floor and extend your head and shoulders up, while pinching your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of 3 and do 15-20 reps.
If you do have achy upper back muscles, why not book a Seated Acupressure Neck & Shoulder massage.
* Cailliet R. Soft Tissue Pain and Disability. Philadelphia: FA Davis Co.,1977