Neck, upper back, and shoulder tension and pain are fast becoming the norm. Why? It is thought with increasing technology, use of PC’s, increase in admin type work etc., more people are hunched over, in a static forward head position for hours at a time. What’s more, is they are not taking mandatory breaks. The result is increased muscle tension, decreased blood and nerve supply and ensuing pain and discomfort sometimes to the point of unbearable!
Dr. Andrew Arnold says, ‘Eventually our spines distort and we end up with a semi-permanent forward head slumped posture.’
The long term problems from this are poorly functioning spine both mechanically and neurologically. The resultant nerve interference then may lead to poor health, fatigue, irritability, depressed state, and overall reduced quality of life!
Did you know your head weighs around 8kgs for the average adult? Did you also know your center of gravity is just behind your ears, that’s right not in the center? So when you fall asleep sitting up you will notice you’re head wants to drop forwards.
Did you also know you have two kinds of muscles, unconscious and conscious? The unconscious muscles are the ones that hold you up, your postural muscles. These are working 24/7, even when you’re asleep!
So it follows that you’re postural muscles are working extra hard if you sit at a desk for example for extended periods of time, i.e. they’re trying to stop your head from falling forwards.
Imagine if I asked you to hold an 8kg weight at shoulder height for hours on end. The muscle would eventually let you know about it right? In fact, a muscle that it tensed or shortened for extended periods will cramp and fatigue and cause pain and aching. This is what you’re shoulder muscles are doing. And that’s why you feel that horrible tension.
So what can you do?
1. Drink water, 2-3Ltr per day.
2. Take regular hourly breaks
3. Stand up and stretch on the hour
4. Move your workspace around at least once a month
5. Exercise 3x week, see our Exercise Consultants.
6. Walk 20mins per day, maybe before and after work.
7. Snack on brain foods, like nuts and seeds.
8. Cut back on the caffeine and sugars.
9. Get physical therapies, like Massage and Chiropractic.
10. Use a Posture Pole, specifically designed to correct forward head posture.
11. Take the right supplements, like magnesium, see a Naturopath.
12. Meditate, a great way to train your posture.
13. Use the right pillow, ask us to help.
14. Be aware of your posture, walk with your eye level 20 degrees above horizontal, use a lumbar back cushion either in your low back or just under your buttocks.
15. Avoid side bending, extreme forward or back bending or circular motions with your head. Only rotate or pull your chin in. Try pushing your head back against the headrest in the car with your chin tucked.
Remember, your posture is the window to your health.
Healthy spine healthy body!
For more information please visit us online www.cranbournefamilychiro.com.au or call 59984554.
About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Ctr.