Technology makes life easier in many ways. Communicating with family members who live far away is almost instant, and you can get information on any subject without going to the library. Technology even allows you to turn on lights and appliances in your home without getting out of your chair.
Most technical applications, however, reduce the need to stand up and walk around. What does suffer from the advancements of technology is your posture. This is what causes neck pain and pain in your lower back, along with other areas:
- Hours spent looking down at your phone screen in your hand put a strain on your neck. Your head weighs an average of eight pounds. It is designed to balance on top of your neck, where that weight can be supported by your entire spine. When you head hangs forward and is no longer balanced at the top of your neck, the muscles in your neck have to work extra hard to support it. Think about how long you could hold your hand out in front of your body without your arm getting tired.
- Sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time strains your neck and back. You lean forward and extend your neck toward the screen, pulling your torso out in front of your hips instead of keeping it stacked up straight to support your weight. Your shoulders rise as you type on your keyboard and your shoulders tighten.
- Curling up on the couch or in your favorite chair to watch a video on your tablet reduces circulation. Your legs are bent, and your lower back is not supported.
Many back pain causes and neck pain causes can be attributed to a lifestyle built around technology. Computers, televisions, tablets, and smartphones all encourage you to sit still for long periods of time in unhealthy postures.
Bad posture becomes a habit you have to consciously change. Improving your posture can protect your neck and back and reduce spine pain. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.
Move around at least once every 20 minutes. Stop reading, pause your movie, save your document and get out of your chair. A five-minute walk around the room every 20 minutes will keep your body from stiffening up.
- Sit up straight. The spine is meant to work best when each piece is piled directly on top of the other with the weight of your head being fulling supported with your spine beneath it. Leaning and stretching are good, but they are not meant to be prolonged postures.
- Keep your chin up. When looking at your phone or tablet, hold it up with your arms, so your neck is not bent down. Position your computer screen so you can see it without bending your head forward. Keep your chin up and your eyes forward and position the screens where you can see them without bending your neck.
If changing your posture does not relieve your back and neck pain, contact NJ Spine & Orthopedic for a consultation. You can start with our online back pain assessment tool that will provide some of the information we need to offer you the right treatment for your back or neck pain.