The incidence of neck and shoulder pain and vertebral disc degeneration has been on the rise since the penetration of smartphone usage. At a good posture when looking at someone from the side the back of the neck should have a natural C-curve. With a ‘text neck’ this curve is diminished or lost, causing many symptoms including neck and shoulder pain, headaches, mood disorders, and premature disc degeneration that can lead to arthritis, bone remodeling and a hunched back.
With good posture the head’s weight (approx 10-12 pounds) is distributed over the shoulders. With the head forward posture associated with texting the head can flex forward to 60 degrees, making the weight of the head up to 60 pounds!! That puts significant strain on the neck and shoulder girdles.
Limiting screen use or holding your smartphone / device at eye level will help tomitigate extra tension on the cervical spine and associated structures. Other ways to prevent ‘text neck’ are to practice good posture, vary postures and take frequent breaks, use hands free /Siri, and strengthen the posterior neck muscles.
Fashion over function?
Did you know that wearing high heels can affect more than just your feet? Common foot problems associated with high heels are bunions, hammertoes, corns, nerve pain, and plantar plate tears. High heels distribute the body’s weight further forward, and the midfoot (which usually dissipates force when walking barefoot) becomes locked in place. This shift forward can place up to 4 1/2 times more bodyweight on the forefoot. Too much pressure on the joint capsules of the long bones of the foot and toes can cause joint capsule pain and inflammation, they can even rupture. The plantar fascia can also shorten with wearing high heels causing stabbing heel pain, inflammation and / or tears.
High heels also affect gait, ligaments, tendons and muscles through the legs and lower back. Calf muscles and Achilles tendons become shortened, knee joints are placed under considerable stress, and hips are often shifted forward which results in lower back compression and tension. The lumbar spine is required to carry more weight with the body’s weight is shifted further forward on heels.