Let's Talk Posture

Dangers of an overly flexed posture, and what you can do to combat it

Andrew Einhorn, PT

Texting neck pain

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Scientific evidence for the idea that texting causes postural problems

Dr. Hansraj, of New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, published a study in the journal Surgical Technology International that an adult head weighs 10-12 pounds in a neutral position.  He discovered by tilting it forward, the forces it exerts on the neck can surge—at 60 degrees of tilt, the head experiences up to 60 pounds of force!

Forces upon neck

  1. Stand upright holding the ends of the band in each hand with your arms straight, and slightly in front of you.
     

  2. Pull your arms straight back until your hands are slightly behind your body and squeeze your shoulder blades togethern and down.
     

  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

Postural Stretching
  1. Lie with your back lengthwise along a full roller with your feet flat on the floor and your arms out to the sides, palms up.
     

  2. Relax and allow gravity to open up your chest.

To our detriment, most of us are constantly looking with our heads down - WE ARE IN A FLEXION BASED SOCIETY.

It does not make any difference if you're an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dentist, Computer Programmer, or just someone who spends too much time using their phone; our society spends too much time with our heads positioned forward of the body in a molded static position. THIS IS A DYSFUNCTIONAL HUMAN POSTURE.

  • Since our joints are essentially a link system of joints, as the head comes forward, the shoulders follow.
     

  • Seriously, the effects of this posture leads to posterior musculoskeletal irritation to the trapezius & levator scapula muscles, increased cervical spine joint forces, and resultant neck pain.

As you flex forward, you are: 
 

  1. Shortening anterior chest muscles.
     

  2. Over stretching the posterior neck muscles.
     

  3. INHIBITING neuromuscular function of the neglected scapular muscles.

  

Conclusion:

Dr  Hansraj stated "the forward flexed position may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgery. The take away: The lack of postural awareness during texting is developing into a viral epidemic.   mom's posture version of "sit up straight and quit slouching" is a simple version that biomechanically has withstood the test of time.

Exercises to help improve posture

Posture is basically a blend of positions, which when improved, lends improvement everyday and athletic performance. Here are some postural strengthening and stretching exercises that you can conduct every day. 

  1.  Keep your chin tucked inward towards your spine, making sure the top of your head is towards the sky and the tip of your nose is pointed straight, not up or down.
     

  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades, together and down.
     

  3. Make sure to keep your chest open.

*You may feel some tightness at the base of your skull or neck, but this will go away in time as you align yourself in a new optimum posture.

Postural Strengthening
  1. Stand upright with your arms relaxed by your sides.
     

  2. Retract your shoulder blades together and down.
     

  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

  1. Stand upright holding the theraband with you arms straight out in front of you.
     

  2. Pull your arms back, bending your elbows until your hands touch the sides of your ribs and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down.
     

  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

  1. Stand facing doorway with your elbows bent at 90 degrees up at shoulder level.
     

  2. Lean your body forward into the wall, without arching your back.
     

  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times, then slowly return to the starting position.

This Web Site shows exercises used in the treatment of postural issues. However, before beginning any type of rehabilitation program, consult with a healthcare professional to rule out contraindications to your condition.