Technology has its benefits, but it may also be causing you serious problems with your back, neck, head and hips. Humans are designed to stand upright, but modern technology has many people spending their days with their head slumped over the tiny screen of a smartphone or hunched forward with their face near a computer screen. The average person typically spends as many as four hours per day with their head, back and shoulders bent at these unnatural angles while sending texts or answering emails.
Weight on Your Shoulders
It is almost impossible to avoid using the technology that may be causing your back and neck issues, but you should make an effort to spend fewer hours working at the computer or texting from a smartphone as well as being conscious to sit up straight. The average weight of an adult head is 10 to 12 pounds when it is in an upright position. But, because of gravitational pull, the head becomes heavier the more the neck is bent. The weight applied to your spine is dramatically increased when you have your head bent forward. This unnatural curve of the cervical spine can lead to a significant increase in stress on the spine, which may lead to degeneration, early wear and tear and possibly the need for spinal surgery.
Everyone has heard someone tell them at some time in their life to stand upright and straighten their shoulders. It turns out that these reminders were good for you because having the correct posture is better for your neck and back. When your body is in proper alignment, it significantly decreases the stress on your spine. Standing tall doesn't just enhance your appearance, it also benefits your health.
People with poor posture:
- Often have poorer emotional and physical health
- May be prone to a host of medical problems, including depression, heart disease, constipation, headaches and neurological problems
- Are highly prone to chronic pain in their back, neck, head and hips
Poor Posture and Lower Cervical Vertebrae
With continued poor posture, including bending the head and shoulders forward, the area of your body that is most prone to damage is the lower cervical vertebrae. Over time, the lower cervical vertebrae may shear or slightly move forward, especially in those who spend hours with their head slumped forward sending text messages or sitting in a poor position while at the computer. Continued shearing of these vertebrae from excess forward head posture will eventually irritate the small facet joints in your neck as well as the soft tissues and the ligaments. This type of irritation often results in neck pain that radiates down your shoulder blades and upper back, and leads to several conditions, including:
- Painful trigger points
- Limited range of motion
- Disc degeneration
- Cervical osteoarthritis
- Cervical herniated disc
The treatment for injuries to your back and spine depend largely on the extent of the damage. In many situations, simply replacing your desk chair with an ergonomic model, sitting straighter, and spending less time hunched over tech gadgets may help relieve the pain and reduce the risk of injury. However, if poor posture is continued or if you neglect to visit a neurosurgeon for possible treatment as soon as the problem begins, you may require spinal surgery to repair the damages.
Capital City Neurosurgery is now accepting new patients, and the best way to learn about any possible damages you may already have to the spine is by having a full examination by a neurosurgeon. Contact us if you are concerned about potential damages to your spine or if you want to learn more about preventing spine damage.