Remember the days we use to sit hunched over our books studying and reading? With the incredible development of the smart phone, tablet, and laptop computer, we are now spending hours on end texting, researching, and reading. While we may be getting a lot accomplished it can come with a tremendous toll on our bodies.
Constantly looking down at a screen, promotes a hunched mid-back and a reverse curve in our neck region. This stress, over time, can cause pain in the neck, back, arms and hands. All the muscles that are over-worked and over-stretched, can with time, start to stay that way, changing your posture and leaving you vulnerable to pain and injury. The damage we can cause may not be limited to the muscles but may also affect other functions of the body.
Take breathing for example – when your head is down (looking at your smart phone or tablet) the trachea (the tube in your throat that allows air to enter in and out of your body) becomes constrained. If the trachea is constrained less air gets into the lungs and that means less oxygen. This can leave us tired and weary.
Good news is there are things we can do to reduce some of the stress we place on our bodies due to technology.
5 tips to help alleviate tech neck and hunch back:
- Get a transitional desk at work. These are designed to elevate allowing you to work sitting or standing which helps with circulation and in preventing aches and pain in the lower back and neck.
- Hold your phones up! Try to elevate your phone up to eye height, this will help keep your head in a more neutral position.
- Take tech breaks. An easy way to take a break is to turn your phone onto airplane mode when you are walking. This way you can look straight a head focusing on keeping your posture upright.
- Stretch and open your chest at your desk. Focus on the upper back and the down movement of the shoulder blades. This will help “massage” the area that gets tight in the mid-back and get the weak muscles moving at the same time.
- Sit at the edge of your chair with an upright posture, looking straight ahead
- Lift your shoulders up towards your ears
- Try to get your scapulae (shoulder blades) to come together
- Lastly try to get the shoulder blades to draw down towards your seat
- Use a foam roller for self massage and stretching.
- Lie on the foam roller, lining it up along the spine (making sure the base of your neck is supported)
- Bend your knees keeping them shoulder width apart
- Reach your arms out in a T position, keeping them at shoulder height or slightly lower
- Then just let gravity do its thing. It will open the chest and front of the neck… allowing the mid-back and neck muscles relax