After an accident, our staff can work with you to heal your injuries. Additionally, we take the time to review your daily routine and make sure your lifestyle supports your healing. Over the last several years, our team of chiropractors in the greater Miami area have noticed that the use of technology has made healing a bit more complicated due to bad posture. You may be thinking that bad posture only relates to neck pain but bad posture can throw your spine out of alignment and cause multiple problems.
The average adult head weighs 10-12 pounds. The neck is designed to hold the head with little or no stress when in a neutral position – head centered above the neck, ears lined up with shoulders. After an injury, these areas may be strained and technology use can increase the pain and prevent or delay healing.
Every inch that your head moves forward equates to approximately 10 pounds more weight that your neck has to hold up. A 15-degree tilt equates to 27 pounds, while the 60-degree tilt, often the angle we take when looking down at our phones, causes your neck to carry a whopping 60 pounds of stress. When your neck muscles have to work so hard, your shoulders, spine, and all the nerves running through it are strained, causing pain not only in the neck, head, or shoulders but often in other parts of the body, as well.
Technology and Posture
Our modern lifestyle and the recent explosion of communication technology have many benefits, but it has really taken a toll on our spines. And when the spine suffers, the whole body suffers. When we develop your individualized healing plan, it will take into account the following:
Sitting for hours a day: Typical office work and college study require a lot of uninterrupted sitting. Just the act of sitting for hours takes a toll on the neck and back, even if you’re cautious to maintain good posture while seated. Our bodies did not evolve to sit for long periods. Staring at a desktop can cause the head to jut forward and shoulders hunch. This posture is even more pronounced when using a laptop, which usually has a lower screen. This posture strains the neck and shoulders, knocking the spine out of alignment and putting stress on nerves and tendons radiating down the arms, possibly causing carpal tunnel.
Watching TV: Whatever technology you use to watch something and relax – whether it’s TV, your phone, laptop, etc. – curling up in your favorite chair with your legs bent or under you reduces circulation, affecting the extremities.
Gaming: Besides the problems caused by sitting for hours at a time, repetitive hand movement can increase the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues in the arm and hand. Constantly staring at a screen causes tremendous eye strain, as well.
Texting, using the phone for social media/web surfing: This use of this technology is worse than sitting at a desk and staring at a computer. It basically has all of the above issues rolled into one: an even more pronounced neck jut and shoulder hunch, legs likely crossed, limiting circulation, and repetitive movement of the fingers. As much as we may love our phones, they’re really bad for us!
How to Heal Your Spine
Start with awareness. For a few days, make note of your posture and determine what your biggest issues are. Next, develop habits of posture and movement to reverse the damage.
Adjust your workstation to be more ergonomic. Adjust your screens to eye level and your keyboard to be able to glance at it with minimal head tilt. Get a good chair that provides lower back support or allows you to comfortably sit forward. Consider setting up a standing station, too, so you can switch postures regularly.
Take frequent breaks. As chiropractors, we encourage people to change their posture every 20 minutes and take a break hourly. This may seem tough, but get into a habit and you’ll find your health, comfort, and productivity improve fairly quickly.
Practice good posture at all times. Good posture not only alleviates back pain and improves breathing and spine health, but studies have also found that it increases testosterone in men, decreases cortisol (stress hormone), and causes one to feel more personally powerful and more comfortable in taking risks (good risks, like asking for a raise!)
Get help. You should see some pain relief with these few lifestyle changes, but if the improvement is too slow or if you have already sustained an injury such as a slipped disc or misalignment, your best bet is to come in so that we can speed up your recovery. After we evaluate your particular issues, we will provide you with just the right chiropractic treatment along with customized advice about how you can adjust your lifestyle to use your technology safely and avoid pain in the future.
We’re experienced in the science and art of healing back, neck, and shoulder pain; finding causes for and resolving pain in arms, legs, hands, and feet; and alleviating chronic headaches. Call us today at Miami Accident Center, (305)928-2828, to see how we can help you today.