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.
Please protect your back by following these tips shown above for proper shoveling technique.
Fun body fact:
Ever wonder why you are taller in the morning? When standing, the entire weight of your trunk, head and arms is transferred into the bodies of your vertebrae. Between your vertebrae you have intervertebral discs made up of a tough outer fibrous layer and fluid inner layer. As the vertebrae compress during the day with activity some of the fluid layer is squeezed out. When asleep, the pressure is relieved from the spine and the discs restore to their full thickness again, hence why you could be taller than the night before.
Fun body fact: How about those pipes?! Most people know that the Biceps Brachii (biceps) help bend your elbow, but did you know that your biceps is also responsible for supinating the forearm (opening your palm to face up)? AND it is actually your Brachialis (the muscle under the biceps) that is the primary mover in elbow flexion.
Fun body fact: Everyone is familiar with the strong chest muscle the Pectoralis Major (pec major), but did you know that you have a Pectoralis Minor (pec minor)? Its primary job is to help elevate your ribs when you inhale. The major vessels and nerves for your arm also run under the pec minor. Apical (shallow) breathing and tight chest muscles can affect the movement, strength and sensations in the ribcage and arms like hands/ arms ‘falling asleep’, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms etc.
Fun body fact: When do you use your Rhomboids? When sticking out your chest or shrugging your shoulders when sitting at the computer, or when your are stressed, cold or scared.
Give your rhomboids a breather by taking a deep breath and squeezing your shoulders up into your ears for 5-6 seconds, then with a big exhale let your shoulders drop. Ahhh!
Fun body fact: Some actions that use the shoulder’s Rotator Cuff muscles include reaching your arms overhead, bringing your arm up to the side, starting the pull cord of your lawn mower, fanning your arms /waving, reaching around to scratch your back, holding a book or child to your chest.
Fun body fact: If you strung together all the veins, arteries and capillaries of the average 6 foot tall adult male, they would stretch 317 million feet, or 60,000 miles.