Posture, stress, headaches, back pain…and so much more

Man in office uniform having back pain issue / back injury

HealthZone Hints this month is focused on the effect of poor posture and head position.

Technology has advanced at an exponential rate and computers, tablets and mobile phones demand more of our time and energy and the amount of ‘screen time’ the average person spends per day is on the rise.

Even whilst writing this, I am adding to my own tally of time in front of a screen.

Prolonged screen time often relates to poor posture, especially for hand held devices such as smartphones or tablets.

A study of the biomechanics of the neck reveals that the weight of the head and subsequent work of the surrounding muscles increases exponentially with every inch forward of head position.

As the graphic below demonstrates, a head that normally weighs 5.4kg, can increase up to 19kg simply by being three inches further forward of the tip of the shoulder.

To put it in perspective, hold a 5-6kg weight close to your body and you will find it’s very easy to hold for a long time.  Then attempt to hold a 19-20kg dumbbell with an outstretched arm; with the resulting fatigue being similar to what your neck, shoulder and back muscles all have to endure with bad posture.

Poor posture and head-forward position leads to a myriad of neck, back, and shoulder injuries.

Cervicogenic headache’ (referred from the neck) is also a common problem amongst those with poor posture.

PostureWhat can you do about it?

Make sure your office chair is at the right height, use a tablet or document holder at the computer and keep the tablet at eye level.

Exercises such as a ‘chin tuck’ (moving your chin and head backwards into a more neutral position) or incorporating a ‘seated row’ into your workout, to improve mid-back strength, can also help.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”.

If you are suffering from headaches, shoulder or neck pain then feel free to book an appointment with one of the team at HealthZone Physiotherapy to help you achieve excellence!

AUT Millennium members receive priority booking and a discount on all physiotherapy treatments and musculoskeletal screening, so make sure to mention that when you book!