My cousin’s 17 year old has been complaining of neck pain, headaches, dizziness, shoulder pain and even some anxiety. As she walked across the parking lot, the cause was clear, she was looking down at her cell phone, head forward, shoulders and upper back rounded forward. If you are reading this, you might be hunched over a desk or slumped back in a chair or even reading this on your smart phone in roughly the same position.
Whether you are 17 or 70, that position is causing you pain. The average head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it is in its neutral position with the ears over the shoulders and shoulders over the hips. For every inch your head is forward, that weight doubles! So, that young man on the bike in the picture above is effectively holding up more than 30 pounds!! We often do this for hours without even thinking – then, we wonder why our upper back is killing us or we can’t move our neck or our shoulders are tight and painful.
The other thing that’s happening when our shoulders and back are so rounded forward is that our diaphragm cannot possibly work efficiently. If the diaphragm isn’t working then you are not able to take a regular breath, you are not getting enough oxygen and you can end up with headaches, dizziness and yes, even anxiety.
Several years ago, a doctor gave this syndrome a name – “Text Neck” – to grab the attention of our young people. The problem has been around ever since we began spending more and more time sitting at computers. Now with cell/smart phones we don’t come out of that stooped position even when we are standing and walking around.
In the blueprint of the body, the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and head line up along the vertical line of gravity as we look at the body from either side. We call that “vertically loaded” where all of the muscles front to back, right to left, and inner and outer are working equally to maintain balance. In order for the body to do this, we need movement, lots of it and all kinds – as big a variety as possible. Unfortunately, in our 21st century environment, we are getting less and less movement and in a smaller and smaller box.
That is where we can help! While I’m sure you won’t be throwing out the cell phone anytime soon, we’ve got something that can counteract the painful results of this associated posture. The Posture Alignment Specialists at Pain Free Performance will help get you out of that small box of activity, and get you standing tall and vertical! We will evaluate and prescribe an individualized sequence of exercises that re-activate all of those muscles that have gone off-line while texting your friends or sitting at the computer. So, if you are ready to get out of that hunched over position and get out of pain, call us!