Posture is Declining at the Speed of Technology!
Thanks in no small part to a reliance on and addiction to technology, a sedentary lifestyle has become the norm. As a result, good posture has never been more important, but unfortunately, our obsession with our smartphones and other electronic devices has made many of us develop forward head posture. Why does good posture matter? Hansraq (2015) evaluated the amount of pressure on the cervical spine (the neck) when bent forward at varying degrees. It was found that as the neck is bent forward such as when texting or checking a text message, the amount of pressure on the neck increases. The images below show the amount that the pressure increases as we bend the neck forward.
As a result, forward head posture leads to chronic pain, numbness in the arms and hands, improper breathing, tension and migraine headaches, changes in blood pressure, poorer balance leading to increased fall risks in the elderly, jaw pain and TMJD, and pinched nerves.
That’s not all. It turns out, forward head posture doesn’t just affect us physically — it affects our mood as well. Thanks in no small part to our smartphone addiction, aka nomophobia , most of us are constantly putting undue strain on our necks and spinal cords, which has adverse effects on our emotions. Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of the forthcoming book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges,” and her colleague, Harvard’s Maarten W. Bos, have dubbed this phenomenon iPosture, or iHunch.
Cuddy and Bos also conducted their own preliminary research on iHunch in their study, “iPosture: The Size of Electronic Consumer Devices Affects our Behavior.” Using an iPod Touch, iPad, MacBook Pro and an iMac, participants were assigned one of the devices. Cuddy and Bos found, as they hypothesized, that those working on smaller devices behaved more submissively, while those who used larger devices were more assertive.
A 2010 study conducted in Brazil examined posture and body image in people with major depressive disorder. Over 10 weeks, 34 participants with depression and 37 healthy volunteers had their posture assessed. Researchers found that patients’ posture changed, including instances of forward head posture, during episodes of depression, and there was a “mild dissatisfaction with body image.”
The Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Hildesheim in Germany gathered 30 depressed inpatients to “investigate the effects of sitting posture on the tendency of depressed individuals to recall a higher proportion of negative self-referent material.” The findings showed that posture can affect memory. After being randomly assigned to sit in a slouched or upright position, the people who sat upright showed no bias in word recall while those who slumped recalled mostly negative words.
In 2015, Health Psychology: The Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association published the results of a randomized trial on how posture affects stress responses. Seventy-four participants were randomly assigned to either upright or slumped seated posture. For the experiment, participants’ backs were strapped to hold the assigned posture. Researchers concluded that good posture in the face of stress maintains self-esteem, improves mood, increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Meanwhile, poor posture actually resulted in more stress, potentially leading to chronic stress.
Poor posture affects the brain’s resting state and those children with poor posture have lower levels of alertness, focus, and engagement in the classroom (potential trigger or exacerbation of ADHD symptoms).
A study in Japan worked to correct elementary students’ posture, focusing on all four major components of posture: feet, buttocks, back and the entire body. After practicing and promoting good posture in class, not only did posture increase roughly 20 percent to 90 percent in students, but students’ classroom performance improved as well.
This “forward head posture,” says University of California’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Rene Cailliet, “can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage…” pulling “the entire spine out of alignment” and “may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.”
At the 1997 Seattle Fibromyalgia International Team Conference, Dr. Herbert Gordon explained that head and neck posture is a major factor in the fatigue and immune dysfunction in sufferers of fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue and immune system dysfunction syndrome patients.
1. Take a complete history of your health concerns.
2. Perform an Orthopedic and Neurological exam.
3. Check Range of Motion.
4. Perform a Digital Foot and Body scan.
5. Order and take Digital Postural X-Rays.
6. Video tape a motion function squat assessment
1. We develop a customized chiropractic and physical therapy plan to restore normal postural alignment and function to reduce nervous system interference (brain function) allowing the patient to reach optimal health.
2. This will include specific active postural rehab exercises that will be performed in the office and at home for maximum results.
3. Whole Body Vibration therapy in office (10 minute workout on vibration machine is equal to 45 minutes of regular exercise).
Wondering if your nervous system is stressed out and malfunctioning from Text Neck or poor posture? Call us today at 615-859-6677 for a consultation.