Here’s a question for you: how many hours can you get into your work day before you start rolling your shoulders and arching your neck, trying to get rid of back and neck pain? If you set up a hidden camera aimed at the cubicles in almost any American office, you’d see plenty of people going through those very motions, usually within two or three hours of getting to work.
You may think it’s tension or a result of watching too many hours of Netflix the night before, but in most cases the problem is actually poor posture.
Slouching your shoulders forward and not standing in an upright, natural position does more than make you look bad in group photos. It’s one of the biggest contributors to spine and neck pain, and can lead to serious and long-lasting problems.
The problem is one that is becoming more and more common as we spend an average of 10 hours bent over phones, tablets and computer monitors.
Our bodies evolved to move, but technologies ranging from the automobile to the smart phone have us sitting for long periods, not exercising or strengthening our muscles, and worst of all, slouching forwards to look at screens.
When we bend towards the image on our screen and hunch our shoulders as we type onto keyboards, we put tremendous pressure on our spines and the muscles that support it. Our heads weigh ten pounds on average – roughly the same amount of weight as a bowling ball.
In addition to causing stress and pain, it can also cause damage to our musculoskeletal system, the discs in our back and neck, our joints, and our muscles. Put enough pressure on your spine and it can even lead to early osteoarthritis.
The hardest part about fixing posture is acknowledging that you have a problem. Once you get yourself into the habit of checking your position, fixing it becomes a whole lot easier. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep tabs on the way that you’re holding your body.
- The easiest way to track your posture is by using a device called a Lumo Lift. If you slouch while you’re wearing it, the device will vibrate, reminding you to put your shoulders back and stand up straight.
- There are fitness bracelets that will alert each time you’re sedentary too long that can be used for the same purpose.
- If you’d rather go old school and do without the technology, set an alarm for every 30 minutes or so with the specific goal of checking and improving your posture every time it goes off. It will take a surprisingly short period of time for you to start checking yourself automatically. Each day you can extend the time period by five or ten minutes.
If your efforts at improving your posture don’t bring you relief, you may need medical intervention. Contact our office to set up a consultation to see what remedies may be available.