Whether it is at work or home, poor posture can lead to neck problems. Poor posture can be problematic during any number of activities, including working at a computer, reading a book, watching TV etc. ‘Text Neck’, is a very common problem nowadays among people who spends hours looking down at the phone while texting. Holding the head in an unusual way for a long time such as having a long conversation while cradling a phone between the head and shoulder can cause strain on your neck.
Spine is comprised of many components that act together to stabilize our body. The average weight of our head is 5kg. This body mass can constantly strain your neck and back, creating a greater force pull on the spine when you are adopting a poor posture of the neck.
Forward Head and Shoulder Posture
Mainly the forward head and shoulder posture contribute to neck pain. In this position the neck slants forward, placing the head in front of the shoulders. The forward pull of the weight of the head can make stress on the vertebrae of the lower neck, contributing to degenerative neck problems. This posture makes the muscles of the upper back to overwork continuously to counterbalance the pull of the gravity of the forward head. It is often accompanied by a rounded upper back, which not only adds to the neck problem but also causes shoulder pain. The more time spent with this posture, the more likely is to develop neck problems etc.
The lower part of the neck is particularly more vulnerable to the forward head posture. The lower cervical vertebrae may result in listhesis or other degenerative problems as a result of the pull of gravity on forward head. This is mainly seen in persons who sit for a long time as part of their job especially in computer related jobs. Prolonged shearing of the vertebrae can cause irritation in neck that result in neck pain radiating to shoulder and upper back and other degenerative problems.
What can be done…?
It is often important to look at the workplace ergonomics as part of the treatment and prevention of neck pain. When sitting erect at a desk, eyes should point directly at the top third of the screen. Elbows should be on the side with forearms approximately parallel to the floor when typing. Feet should be placed flat on the floor with thighs parallel to the floor. The seat should have enough width and depth to support the user comfortably. The chair should be with proper back rest giving proper lumbar support.
Make sure that one side of the body is not constantly rotated more than the other side. Persistent movements to one side can aggravate joints and soft tissues, causing neck and back pain. Stretching exercises are effective in restoring good posture and taking off pressure over the neck and thereby relieving pain.