We live in a society that is overwhelmed by technology. It is not uncommon that people spend a good amount of their day looking down at their tablet, smartphone or computer screen...
But did you know that contently looking down is affecting your spine, joints and other tissues?
When a patient comes to me with a complaint of neck, shoulder or upper back pain, the first thing I examine is their posture. Poor posture over time can lead to muscular imbalances and unnecessary stress on joints and tissues of the spine and shoulders. For example...
- Forward head posture with rounded shoulders yields tight pectorals (muscles of your chest) and upper trapezius and weak or lengthened rhomboids (the muscle that keeps the shoulder blades pulled back) and neck flexor muscles.
- Forward head posture can lead to the loss of the nature curvature of your cervical or upper spine, causing decreased range of motion, pain and increased risk of damaging the discs and ligaments providing cushion and support to your spine.
So How Can Poor Posture Cause Shoulder Pain?
According to an article entitled, Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head, written by Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine....
The adult human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in its neutral position. As the neck is flexed forward, or as you are looking down to send a text message or check your email, the forces on your spine increase. Check out the chart below to see just how much force is placed on your spine the farther forward the head goes...
- Know where the top of your head is. Pretend there is a string between the top of your and the ceiling above you!
- Pull your shoulders back! Pretend thatyou are trying to pinch a piece of paper between your shoulder blades.
- Don't look down! Hold your smart phone or other device ahead of you to avoid looking downward.
- REMEMBER...Good posture is when your ears are in line with your shoulders. When you notice you are sticking your chin out, pull it back - almost like you are trying to make a double chin!
Written by Christine Whitney, PT.
Christine is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville Location. Meet her here!
Have a pain in the neck? Stop by any of our office locations for an Free Screening of your individual case.