Technology has created a brave new world of instant communication, constant contact and information at our fingertips.
It’s opened doors for many that might otherwise have remained closed. So yeah. It’s a good thing, in many ways.
Then again, go to a restaurant and be annoyed by the diners who continue cradling their umbilical cord to the known world as they eat one-handed. On public transit, it’s no different. Thumbs maniacally tapping, we text, therefore we are.
And all that connectivity comes at a price. Part of that price (believe it or not) is the integrity of our bodies.
Could cell phone use be hurting your posture? You bet – especially if you’re one of millions of Americans who spend an average of 4 hours every day using their cell phones.
Head down. Shoulders hunched.
Once upon a time, we all knew that good posture entailed maintaining the head in a neutral posture in relation to our shoulders.
“Chin up, shoulders down, stomach in!”, was our rallying cry. But with the advent of the cell phone, this rallying cry has become a distant whimper, as head down, shoulders hunched, thumbs tapping has taken over.
So, what’s wrong with this picture? It’s a picture you see everywhere you go, so can it really be that bad?
Think about it. Your head is a heavy object, perched atop several vertebrae, separated by spinal discs. What happens when you dangle your head over a cell phone for hours each day? What happens when that heavy object becomes a burden on your cervical vertebrae?
Very bad things. That’s what happens.
A cascading effect
Our bodies are finely calibrated systems which depend on everything in them working together to create the state of “homeostasis” – balance in the body.
When something is out of alignment, everything else will respond to that anomaly by joining it in dysfunction. As the effect cascades (in this case from the upper neck), other areas are implicated. The shoulders, the arms, the upper and mid-back. And as the effects of the original dysfunction continue to cascade, they are amplified.
Mitigating the effect
I know you need your cell phone. I need mine, too. I don’t expect you to put it away and revert to a landline.
What you can and must do is mitigate the effect by changing your habits to protect your posture and the integrity of your body as a whole.
That means not bending your head over your cell phone. Instead, hold the device up to your face. As you do so, stay aware of where you head is in relation to your shoulders. Are your shoulders creeping up? Relax them. Sit up straight. Engage your abdominal muscles.
These basic rules of healthy posture are what will save you from the potential ruination of your posture.
In case you don’t believe it’s all that important, take note that maintaining good posture is like insurance for the future. The better it is now, the better you’ll feel later.
Neck hurt? Back & Body Medical NJ can help!