Your posture, the position you hold your body when standing or sitting, will determine your long-term back and neck health. Low back pain, rounded shoulders, shoulder pain, neck pain, and ultimately “tech neck” are all a result of poor posture.
For “tech neck” the most obvious posture issues are slumped shoulders and looking down at your phone with your chin just an inch or so away from your chest. While these sound harmless, they are in fact not. In reality, the “tech neck” of stiff, sore, and slightly painful neck muscles and tired shoulder muscles also affect the rest of the body and muscle groups.
Poor, or bad, posture is the result of muscle and skeletal distortions in the neck, and lower and upper back. Most people think of poor posture as simply slumping over, but that is not necessarily the case. While it is true that “tech neck” is caused by this slumping, other signs of poor posture include a bit of a pot belly, soreness in the hip area because slumping of the back puts pressure on the hip joints. Sitting at your computer with slumped shoulders and curve back is definitely poor posture. Looking down at your phone or mobile device with your chin just an inch or so away from your chest is definitely poor posture.
How To Improve Your Posture
Begin with understanding that when the back and neck and hips are aligned correctly, you are sitting and walking in a healthy manner. When you have good posture while using your mobile device, computer or laptop, you will feel less tired and you will greatly reduce the likelihood of having “tech neck”.
Some things you can do to improve your posture:
Think string. Imagine that you have a string coming from the top of your head that is pulling you gently up, toward the ceiling.
Have someone tape an X on your back from shoulder to opposite hip. Then close the top of the X with a straight line of tape across your shoulders. Wear this during the day. You will become aware of how you sit, stand, and walk throughout the day and can begin retraining yourself so that you have better posture.
Avoid the slouch. Imagine that you have a book on the top of your head and that you must keep that book balanced. Do this while using your mobile devices, computer, and laptop and you will prevent the soreness that comes from “tech neck”.
Sit up straight. Align your back with the back of the chair. This will help you avoid slouching or leaning forward.
Take standing breaks. Stand up and stretch, walk around, do a little exercise, or just stand there for a few minutes. Your body was not designed to sit all day.
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