How do you sit? Or better yet, how do you hold your body while you text or browse the internet on your smartphone or tablet? You may not have given it much thought, if any at all… and you may not think that your posture could have anything to do with tension headaches, or back and neck pain. The reality is, your posture has more of an impact on your health and wellbeing than you think.
Consider this: the average head weighs around a whopping 10-11 pounds. This essentially means that your neck has to carry a big responsibility each and every day (your head!). And every time your body is positioned poorly and head is slouched forward, the neck has an increased amount of weight to support than it did before... leading to an increase in physical stress, and eventually, pain.
Statistics show that a staggering $150 billion in US dollars per year is spent on treatment for chronic pain… with back and neck tension playing a large role. Sitting in a hunched or static position for long periods of time can create an unhealthy tension in the neck and spine, and can ultimately lead to unwanted headaches. By working on your postural habits, you may very well be able to prevent or reduce the occurrence of head pain. In addition, be sure to take a break from sitting at least every 30-50 minutes by taking a brief walk away from your desk, for at least 10 minutes at a time.
As wonderful as technology is, there can be some negative side effects if we aren’t smart about how we use our smartphones. Many cell phone users suffer from a condition commonly referred to as “text neck”. This describes a change in the spine’s structure as a result of frequently hunching the neck and head down while texting. This unhealthy habit is leading to painful symptoms like back and neck pain, as well as chronic headaches. Specialists are noticing a pattern arising in frequent cell phone users where the natural curvature of the spine (about 40 degrees) is starting to actually reverse in position. Because of this scary epidemic, cell phone users should take precaution and make certain changes to the way they use their device.
One way of practicing good posture with cell phone use is to either bring your phone to eye level by resting your elbows on the front of your abdomen, or to only use the eyes to look down at the screen without bending the neck. When you can, limit your cell phone or tablet use, or take frequent breaks for about 15 minutes at a time. If you’re doing work that can be performed on a computer, pass on using your tablet for the time being. By being mindful of these things, you’ll be doing your spine a big favor, while helping to prevent tension headaches and pains.
Exercising and stretching is extremely beneficial in providing relief from head and neck pain. At the Centre, we assist patients in exercises and activities that take the body through stretches, range of movement, stimulation/balancing, and strengthening.
Are your tension and stress headaches still getting the best of you, despite all of your efforts? Schedule an appointment with your Chiropractor in Toronto today. The Advanced Therapeutic Centre offers many different treatment services and individualized Rehab programs to provide effective relief from chronic and acute pain conditions.