Surprise! It is your body rebelling against technology. That ache is directly related to the time you spend hunched over your mobile device, computer or steering wheel.
The next time you notice someone’s head jutting forward several inches in front of their body or rounding their shoulders you are seeing the effects of technology on the body. This is sometimes called tech-neck, text-neck or turtle neck.
When we repeatedly crane our head forward to read a screen or peer out of the windshield, we are training our muscles and bones to literally grow in that direction. Our fascia, muscles and bones model to the forces placed upon them over time, which is why braces work in your mouth to straighten your teeth. Given that principle, you can see that over the many hours per day we spend on our devices that our bodies are modeling into to these new positions, which negatively impacts our posture. You literally start to grow that way. Gravity makes this even worse, which is why we recognize an elderly person even from a distance because they are typically more hunched over than a younger person as gravity has done a number on their posture and spine. Furthermore, the more your head is down or forward, the more it weighs to the point that it seriously overloads the muscles of your upper shoulders and neck. Your body wasn’t designed to support a head that weighs 50 pounds or more!
Technology has unfortunately accelerated the process by which our postures “ages” and unless we take steps to strengthen and stretch the correct muscles we are doomed to a life of discomfort and pain..
What’s the solution?
- MY BIGGEST SUPER TIP on this: AWARENESS!! Notice when you are thrusting your neck or chin forward, like in the car or at the computer and stop. Pull your chin in and throw your shoulders back and down, like they are going into your back pocket. Do it all the time, every day until your body starts to learn these new positions. Check yourself on your devices and try to hold your devices up at eye level so you can minimize the amount of time you head looks down.
- Use a cervical decompression device several times per week if not daily to help restore the natural curvature of the spine.
- Exercise your deep neck flexors and stretch your neck to keep the muscles and connective tissue (fascia) flexible. Try this exercise while in the car: support your head against the headrest and practice tucking your chin in and out. You can even use your fingers to help as you may be limited in this motion.
Want more? Hire a qualified Personal Trainer that will help you use the gym to make life more functional and less painful.
Alternately, watch my 10-minute YouTube video and workout at your desk to mitigate the havoc that technology wreaks on your upper body: