Is your Smartphone causing you poor posture?

The increased use of smartphones and tablets has encouraged a forward head posture in many people, and over time the head adapts to this position. In the past, this common head position was known as a dowager’s hump, and it was associated with elderly people. Today we see this more commonly in the younger population.

Good alignment or posture, means that we use the most efficient amount of muscle energy to keep our joints aligned against the downward pull of gravity. If our head is held forward from staring down at a smartphone, the alignment of our entire body is thrown off kilter. This causes excess stress on our joints and ligaments that support our joints. Your muscles have to use increased force and energy to work against the excess load, which in turn causes all our tissues, such as fascia, nerves, blood vessels and even your internal organs to be under increased tension. This can lead to pain and dysfunction. Unfortunately, the majority of jobs today, involve sitting for 8 hours, looking at computer screens.

Our bodies do not like being sedentary for hours on end. Postural muscles fatigue and muscles that should be used for movement take over and tighten up. During the teenage years in particular, good posture is a challenge with increased screen time, slouching and growth spurts. One of the last bones to finish growing is in fact the collarbone and when your teenager is constantly slouching, the upper spines final resting position can often be in a rounded position. Apart from all the facts about good posture being better for your body, another truth is that proper posture, simply makes you look better, healthier, and more confident!

Try this simple Posture check

1.) Stand with your feet 6-10 cm from a wall. You should be able to comfortably place the back of your head, your shoulders and your bottom against the wall without markedly changing your posture.
2.) As an exercise, rest the back of your hands and forearms on the wall and gently slide them up and down the wall without increasing the arch
of your back. Repeat slowly, but painlessly 8-10 times. As your back muscles get stronger and your chest muscles get longer, you will be able take your arms higher and higher up the wall.
3.) If this is exercise is very difficult for you, you may want to seek the advice of a physiotherapist, to advise you on what muscles, need to be stretched and which ones need to be strengthened. Remember our bodies thrive on movement, so put down those phones, and take a break from the social media world. Your messages will still be there when you get back from your power walk!