05 Jul Your Head and Your Posture
Did you know your head probably weighs about 12 pounds, similar to the weight of a bowling ball?
The position of our head makes a big difference to the muscles of our neck, shoulders and in fact all the way down to our lower back!
Because gravity is one of the most powerful forces we know about, and it always pulls straight down towards the earth, it makes a big difference where we hold our heads.
For every 1 inch of forward head position gravity puts an additional 30 pounds of torque force on your head.
That means it feels much heavier to the muscles that have to hold it up and ends up putting a lot of pressure on the discs between our neck vertebrae.
When we are looking down at our cell phones, most people hold their head about 5 inches forward of center. This is an added 150 pounds of torque force!! Of course our body is designed to withstand this but not for an extended period of time.
Also using a laptop computer forces us to look down at the screen and so we end up with the same problem.
When muscles are made to hold a constant contraction that strains them, they end up creating trigger points, which are little tender balls of tension in the muscles that often radiate pain to areas like the head (headache) or shoulder or down the arms.
You may have also heard about the “horn” that young people are growing on the back of their heads. This is basically a bone spur that is developing at the attachment of a ligament that attached the head to the neck bones. When you tug on it for hours a day the ligament begins to calcify and grows a bone spur. This is bad news and will cause a variety of other problems. (see link below)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, when we reverse our natural neck curve by looking down we stretch our spinal cord that attaches to our brain through a hole in the base of the scull.
If we were listening to what our bodies, they would be saying to us “please don’t hold me in that position so long, owww”!! The problem is it is very hard to feel or listen to our bodies when we are engrossed in our phone or computer.
My suggestion to preserve the health of your neck and spinal cord is to begin to change your relationship with your cell phone and start using it less.
Do not do anything on your cell phone that can be done on a computer, like checking email or searching for something on the internet. If you have to text or do something you can only do on a phone try to hold it higher and look down at a lesser angle, and do it for shorter periods of time.
For a laptop, I suggest getting an external keyboard and mouse, sitting at a desk and not slumped on the couch, and put the laptop up on an adjustable stand, or a box or some books so you are looking straight ahead at the screen and the keyboard and mouse are on the desktop or better yet on a pullout tray.
So, try to make friends with your neck and spine and begin to sense more what makes them happy or stressed. We only have one spine and we don’t want it to wear out before we are done with it!