There is no denying that we live in the ‘technological era’.
Consumers are constantly on the go, looking for new and improved ways to maximize time, energy and enjoyment. Whether this means streaming music, capturing that ‘award-winning’ picture, engaging in the latest Twitter debate, or texting friends/family, it’s all done on technological devices of one sort or another. In fact, most of you reading this article will own at least one technological device.
Take a second to add up the number of hours each day that you spend on your device. Is it one, two, five, or even ten?
That calculation isn’t of any real benefit for this discussion, but your posture is, and the awkward positions we find ourselves in while using these devices will not help.
I would like to introduce to you the term the ‘iHunch’.
iHunch is a term used to describe the common spinal problem at the level of the cervicothoracic junction (CT junction) causing neck pain/dysfunction and headaches.
It is most commonly associated with forward head posture, a poking chin posture, and/or a dowager’s hump (hunching over).
Anatomically, the cervicothoracic junction is located at the very bottom of the neck.
More specifically, this is where the neck (cervical spine) connects with the upper back (thoracic spine). This spinal segment is unique because it is the point of transition from the highly flexible neck, connecting to the nearly completely inflexible upper back.
It is also the point where the lordosis, or backward curvature of the cervical spine reverses into kyphosis, (or forward curvature) of the upper back.
The arrival of laptops, smartphones and tablets has seen a marked rise in the prevalence of postural related pain.
Unlike desktop computers, these portable devices are not typically used in ergonomically correct workstations because the screens do not separate from the keyboards.
To adapt to this, we naturally hunch over them inappropriately flexing at the CT junction.
If your head is bent forward at 60 degrees (to look at your mobile device), the load on your neck increases by up to five times.
Sustaining this position for any length of time means our muscles strain, lengthen and weaken. Additionally, the spinal joints compress, and nerves exiting from the neck may become compromised as well.
What can we do about this technology posture?
Whatever your device of choice is, give yourself a few minutes break every hour.
During work, make a point of getting up and going for a short walk.
Whenever possible try to spend less time on these devices each day, particularly outside of work hours.
Where possible, use a docking station or desktop computer, and if you need to use your phone then raising the height of the device to eye level can help reduce the stress and strain on your neck.
It is never too late to build a stronger, better you!
If you’re experiencing frequent pain, headaches or are noticing postural deviations, consult your doctor or physiotherapist for expert advice to mobilize and strengthen your neck and shoulder region.
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