The problem of incorrect posture
No matter how old you are, I’m sure you heard the old saying, “pull your shoulders back, sit up straight, don’t slump or don’t text with your neck bent”. Using your phone by bending your head forward leads to all kinds of new orthopedic problems that we’ve never seen before and it’s sometimes known as a “text neck”.
We all kind of know what bad posture looks like, but that does not keep us from slouching and since we live in a culture where body awareness isn’t prioritized, many of us may not even be aware that our posture could be less than ideal.
We’re all familiar with the ‘Smartphone neck’ where the hips tilt forward, the core is weak and unengaged, shoulders slouch and the neck is way too sharp an angle looking straight down at the Smartphone. Our spines are so flexible and resilient that using this stance every now and then isn’t a big deal. But as we all know, most people are on their phones hours every day, especially when they commute.
When we’re in this shape for long periods of time, we begin to lose that slight forward curve in our cervical spine called the lordotic curve. Our ligaments and muscles begin to stretch out in all the wrong places. Once ligaments and muscles are lax, bones aren’t held in their correct place as effectively, which leads to subluxation in addition to nerve compression and chronic pain in the head, neck and a ton of tension in the shoulders.
Before there was ‘Smartphone neck’, there was the ‘computer screen chin’ also referred to as chin forward. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The shoulders roll forward, the back of the head falls towards the back elongating the throat and jutting the chin forward. This shape creates a very extreme lordosis in the cervical spine as well as kyphosis in the thoracic spine. In addition to the same subluxation vulnerabilities and nerve compression present in Smartphone necks, chin forward also contributes to impeded drainage of the lymphatic fluid which can lead to depressed immunity among other things. Another effect of this posture is obstruction of the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the spine.
Shoulders forward and kyphosis rarely exist independently of one another. Anyone who does anything with their arms in front of them like driving or washing dishes or gesticulating rapidly ends up having this problem. People, who spend a decent amount of time with their shoulders forward, end up with a lot of tension in their upper back and shoulders. This tension is caused by upper back muscles that have been over stretched to the point that they are no longer able to fully function, and support the spine in an erect position. Because of this, the muscles are always tight, often to the point that blood flow to the area is reduced and causes an uncomfortable condition called ischemia.