How Text Neck is Killing Your Good Posture And How To Fix It
There are two things I can tell about you right now. Most likely you are reading this article on your smart-phone or on your computer, and your posture is not the best while you are doing so. Am I right? Your head is tilted, your shoulders are rounded and your spine is not upright. Third poor posture is called “Text Neck”, and it is the result of staring down at your screen for half of the day.
But you are not alone on this, actually, the average smartphone user spends two to four hours a day staring at their smartphone or computer, which means that they spend over 700 hours a year. Most likely, said users stare down at their phones, which causes neck stiffness and pain, instead of looking straight up with a more comfortable position that will cause less damage to the spine. When inclined, the head can feel heavier to the neck and shoulders, causing a sensation of extreme discomfort that can lead to chronic pain and back problems. This also makes your lungs lose 30% of their breathing capability, pain in the cervical spine and muscle damage. Thankfully, text neck can be avoided and the pain can be reduced.
1. Bring your phone higher when texting: Whether you are texting, checking your emails while on the go, finding the shorter route home or just looking at another cat video, try to bring your phone higher so you won’t slouch. Remember that your head feels heavier to your shoulders when tilted, so avoiding this position will help your muscles feel less stressed and tight.
2. Use a headset: When talking on the phone, try to use a headset instead of holding your phone between your ear and neck. This position causes tension and pressure to the muscles around your neck and shoulders, causing a lot of pain. By using a headset, you can maintain your upright position and still talk to those you need to. This can also help you avoid spending time on your phone which we know it causes bad posture and a lot of pain.
3. Stretch: Stretching can help you alleviate the neck pain. Tilt your head so your left shoulder and your ear touch each other, and maintain this position for 15 seconds, repeat it with the other side. Make sure to ask a physician or therapist which stretching exercises are more suitable for you. Do them while you are at your desk, watching TV or commuting to your work.
4. Take advantage of Siri: Siri does more than just tell you jokes when you ask for them. Siri can actually help you avoid text neck by just asking it to text your friends for you. Activate Siri, and ask it to make calls, send text messages or find an address. The less you look down at you phone, the less stress it will have.
5. Take breaks from your phone: You know how your mom always told you to stop spending so much time in front of the TV and go play outside instead? This can save your neck! Taking breaks from using your phone can help you reduce the stress your slouched position causes to your neck and shoulders. Go for a walk without your phone, and see how your neck will not hurt as much as it always does.
And lastly, invest in the latest smart wearable tech to help you with your posture. One that will train your core muscles as well as your back muscles, and will vibrate every time you slouch. Like UPRIGHT Pose.
How To Maintain a Healthy Posture in the Office
Sitting down at your desk all day can be a pain in the back, literally! Back pain, neck stiffness and shoulder pain are extremely common among workers, especially when they spend their entire day sitting at their desk and staring at a screen. Most of the elements in the office can lead to the back and neck to suffer because they are not in the right position, which can lead to headaches, body pain and stress which can worsen to other types of stress. If you work in an office and want to improve your posture to avoid pain and increase productivity, you will want to follow the tips below.
1. Raise your computer screen so it is at the same level of your eyes.
Looking down at your computer, or looking up in some cases,can be one of the reason why you suffer from neck stiffness and back pain. When you look down at your computer, you put an excessive amount of stress on your neck. A study by Surgical Technology International explained that your head weighs about 10 pounds when sitting straight, but by just leaning your head 15 degrees forward, it feels like it weighs 27 pounds, which is why your neck and shoulder hurts when you lean your head. To avoid this, place your monitor perpendicular to your eyes, and if you happen to have more than one screen, make sure both are at the same level. To make things even better, maintain an arm length between the monitor and you, this way you won’t lean forward when working.
Your arms should be resting on the armrests of your chair forming a 90 degree angle. If you stretch your arms, you will cause your back muscles to lose strength and in return, cause pain. To avoid this, keep your keyboard and mouse close to you, as well as the things that you use often throughout the day so they are easy to reach. There are also wrist rests to help you alleviate pain while you are writing most of the day.
Did you know that crossing your legs while you sit is causing you pain? This popular position actually causes a lot of stress to your leg muscles and lower back, which is one of the many reasons why your lower back may hurt so much. When you sit down, make sure that both of your feet comfortably touching the ground, and that your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Adjust your chair so your legs are comfortable, or invest in a small bench so your feet can rest. Moreover, make sure to stretch your legs now and then while you are on your desk, and walk around your office to avoid stiffness.
4. Use a headset when talking on the phone.
We are all guilty of multitasking while working, and talking on the phone at the same time is our favorite way to save time, or so we believe. But, did you know that placing your phone between your ear and your neck creates tension on the muscles? To avoid this, get a headset so you can talk on the phone and continue working without adding stress and tension to your neck and shoulders.
5. Standing desk.
Standing desks have become extremely popular in offices because they help you maintain a good posture while working. While standing the whole day might seem impossible and tiring, using a standing desk for a few hours a day as opposed to staying seated all day, will help your posture a lot. Human beings are made for movement and not to sit around all day, and a standing desk will help you with this.
There are many ways to improve your posture in the office, and the benefits will be rewarding. From relieving back and neck pain to improving your productivity and confidence. So what are you waiting for? Improve your posture today with the help of UpRight.
Bad Posture: How It Hurts and How You Can Fix It
“Sit up straight.”
“Keep your shoulders back.”
As a child, you probably heard some form of those commands once or a thousand times. At the time, they were just words adults liked to say. Now, they hold a much deeper meaning. Bad posture doesn’t just make you look sad and pathetic; it affects your health.
Bad posture is an epidemic in the U.S. affecting millions of individuals. And it’s not a simple or unimportant matter. It causes more mental and physical complications than most people know and can have disastrous effects on your long-term health.
5 Negative Effects of Bad Posture
- Adversely Changes Your Spine
Bad posture changes the alignment of your spine, putting pressure on areas that don’t need it. In your natural, healthy state, your spine has a certain curve to its shape. But after you spend years slumping at your desk and standing with bad posture, the natural curve of your spine is lost. In fact, the excessive strain can become so bad that it decreases the integrity of your spinal column causing your discs to weaken and compress and your vertebrae to erode. These changes not only cause long-term pain and discomfort, but the new alignment can even make you shorter and stop your ability to absorb shock and maintain proper balance.
- It Worsens Depression and Stress
As stated earlier, bad posture doesn’t just make you look sad it actually makes you feel sad. A study at San Francisco State University discovered that students who slouched while they walked had increased feelings of depression and stress compared to those who skipped. A similar study at Harvard revealed that the way you carry yourself, with good or bad posture, can affect how you feel. For example, people with good posture saw a rise in testosterone, giving them a sense of power and control, and a decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Digestive Trouble
Bad posture doesn’t just affect your spine; it also affects your innards. Sitting and standing slumped over constricts your intestines, which can make digestion uncomfortable and contribute to issues such as acid reflux and hernias. Even more surprising, bad posture can impact your metabolism causing you to gain weight and to develop a belly pouch and larger bottom.
- Increased Pain
When your body isn’t in alignment, it isn’t happy, and the way your body tells you its unhappiness is through pain. In fact, bad posture can lead to chronic back pain and disc degeneration. The reason why is because of increased strain on your back muscles, bones, and other parts of your body. Bad posture can even cause pain in other parts of your body including your hips, shoulders, and neck, leading to tension headaches.
- Cardiovascular and Lung Issues
Just as slouching hurts your digestive tract, it also hurts your lungs and heart. An Australian study on bad posture found that individuals who sat all day slumped over their desks had a shorter life expectancy and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Part of that increased risk could be because bad posture also restricts blood and oxygen flow, making it more difficult to breathe, speak, and engage in physical exercise.
5 Tips to Improve Your Posture
- Strengthen Your Back Muscles
If you want to get rid of your bad posture, first, you need to make it easier to stand and sit up straight. There are a few simple exercises you can do to improve your back muscles. They include squats with weights, lunges, and shoulder rolls. Doing these exercises a few times a week can make it easier to keep the correct posture.
- Train Yourself in Good Posture
For most individuals, good posture doesn’t come naturally. That’s why you need to train yourself to sit and stand appropriately. The UPRIGHT Posture Trainer is simple to use and works in just 15 minutes a day. It works by gently reminding you to correct your bad posture and allowing you to track your progress over time.
- Stand Up Often
It’s easier to have good posture when you’re standing. Take regular breaks throughout the day to stand up and walk around your office.
- Fix Your Chairs
Since you most often have bad posture when you sit, make it easier on your body to correct the problem by investing in the right chairs. For your office, invest in an ergonomic chair, keyboard, and mouse. In your car, adjust your seat so your headrest is in the middle of your head and so your head is not more than 4 inches away from the seat.
When you live your life with bad posture, not only do you shorten your spine, you shorten your muscles. Stretching can help lengthen your muscles back to their natural state while also helping you to open up your body, so your organs get the oxygen they need.
5 Most Common Back Pain Myths Debunked
Thirty-one million Americans suffer from back pain, and that means there are millions of pseudo experts. Unfortunately, listening to every “specialist” on the Internet can cause more problems than it solves. The problem is that back pain misconceptions can quickly get out of hand and become accepted beliefs.
To help protect you from the fear mongering and confusion, we’re debunking the five greatest back pain myths: moving makes it worse, exercise should be avoided, scans reveal all, back pain happens without warning, and pain equals damage. Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and that means you need to be armed with the facts if you want to move on with your life.
Myth 1: “Moving will make my back pain far worse!”
Wrong! Movement is not the enemy of back pain. In fact, in many instances, bed rest and a fear of twisting, bending, and moving can actually make your back pain worse. It’s understandable. When movement causes pain, why would you want to move anymore? But lying down can work against you and even slow your healing.
The Annals of Internal Medicine published a study that reviewed 134 workers with back pain. The researchers found that those who kept moving recovered in just 58 days compared to the 87 days of recovery it took for sedentary individuals.
Myth 2: “I shouldn’t exercise, and I definitely shouldn’t weight train!”
If bed rest isn’t the best option, neither is exercise avoidance. Yes, you should reduce your normal activities, but that doesn’t mean you should stop hitting the gym. In fact, you should try and stay as active as possible.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start doing 100lb squats immediately. Instead, you should focus on exercising in a controlled, gradual, and progressive manner. According to the Mayo Clinic, just 15 minutes of exercise a day can help stretch and strengthen your back and supporting muscles to prevent further pain and promote recovery.
Myth 3: “A scan will reveal all of my back problems!”
In some cases, technology doesn’t hold all the answers. While a back scan can often reveal what’s going on, it’s not always that simple. Back pain is often a complex and multi-factorial issue, meaning that a spinal diagnosis isn’t straightforward.
To uncover what’s causing your back pain and what’s necessary for recovery requires a full clinical diagnostic process. This typically requires three steps:
- A review of your medical history. To get to the root of your back pain, your physician should spend time asking you a series of questions about your symptoms, history, activities, positions, treatments, and more.
- A physical examination. A competent physician should test for nerve function, muscle strength, pain in certain positions, and more.
- Diagnostic testing. Only after a physician has reviewed your medical history and given you a physical examination is a scan appropriate. Everything from an X-ray to CT scans and MRI scans can be appropriate to assess certain conditions.
Myth 4: “My back pain had no warning!”
Yes, it’s true that your back can suddenly “go out,” but it never happens out of the blue. The truth is that your back pain always has a cause whether it’s poor conditioning, weight gain, incorrect posture, or bad lifting mechanics.
The reality for many individuals is that back pain is a result of a cumulative effect from simple movements. Sudden back pain can also be a sign of an underlying degenerative process or neurological issues. There’s always a cause for back pain and seeing a physician is your best chance for appropriate diagnosis and recovery.
Myth 5: “If my back hurts that means that there’s damage to my spine!”
Back pain doesn’t always equal injury. While, in the past, that’s been the established view, recent research has revealed that back pain can, and often is, a holistic issue.
There are many physical, psychological, and even social factors that can lead to back pain. In fact, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke anxiety and depression can even influence back pain. The only way to diagnose the cause of your back pain and to determine if your spine suffers from damage is to visit your health care provider.
Now that you know the truth about back pain, the next step is to do something to relieve your back pain and get immediate results. That’s where Upright can help. In just 15 minutes a day, you can train your body to have better posture for decreased back pain and increased productivity.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm
Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076265
Annals of Internal Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14734329
American Chiropractic Associations; http://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics