Poor Posture and Phones = Problems

Did you know the average head weighs around 5 kg? That’s bigger than most newborns! So, it will come as no surprise that poor posture and looking down for prolonged periods of time can wreak havoc on our necks.

How does poor posture result in neck pain?
When we regularly look down or slouch for prolonged periods of time our neck or cervical spine gradually starts to shift forward. Soon, our body readjusts and begins to compensate, muscles become weakened and stretched while other muscles become shortened and fatigued. Think poor posture doesn’t matter? Try this exercise—take a deep breath in a slouched position. Now sit up straight and try again. Easier isn’t it? All those times your parents told you to sit up straight…. They may have been onto something!

Text Neck

Now that you are sitting up straight let’s talk about your devices—smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

When you are in a neutral position the pressure on your neck is around 5 kg (or the weight of your head). As soon as you tilt your head forward to look at your phone/tablet or laptop the force on your neck increases dramatically. According to a 2014 study* tilting your head forward by approximately 45 degrees increases the force on your head to 22 kg!

How can I prevent neck pain?
There are a few simple things you can do to ease your neck pain that our team of Physio’s and Osteo’s would like to share:

  • Movement – every 20-30 minutes while on your phone, tablet or laptop take a break, stretch or get up and walk around.
  • Check your home office ergonomics – watch our experienced Osteopath Lauren show the best way to set up your home office to minimise your risk of pain and injury during this lockdown period.
  • Raise your device up rather than looking down at it! Even a few inches can make a world of a difference.

If you are stiff, sore or in pain, book an appointment with Williamstown Osteopaths for hands-on therapy. We can help alleviate your pain and give you specific exercises to keep those muscles in shape.

Simple neck exercise to try at home
Take a seat, sitting on the edge of a chair to make sure your back is straight and comfortable. Put your hands on your knees and roll your neck right then left nice and slow a couple of times. It takes barely a minute but the small muscles in your neck will thank you for it! This simple exercise to do each day to help stretch the muscles and ligaments.

Seeking help

Williamstown Health + Lifestyle is open for business treating inner west locals from Williamstown North, Altona, Yarraville, Spotswood, Newport. Visit our bookings page for more information about our services.

*Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surg Technol Int, 25(25).

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