Most of us think about the above title from a mental/emotional state. It is in fact always best to keep your head UP, especially in difficult circumstances. But today we are talking about physically keeping your head up – as in stop looking down so much!
What happens when you look down for extended periods of time (this usually coupled with shoulders rolled forward)? This usually happens when we are reading, studying or playing on electronics. What happens over time is the “c” curve in your neck (like a banana) begins to straighten out. This can cause a lot of tension and stress in your neck and shoulders Think of your head weighing similar to that of a bowling ball. Imagine holding a bowling ball in towards your chest. You could probably hold it there a long time, right? How about stretching your arm out and holding that same ball? A lot harder, right?! You see many of those muscles in your shoulders are NOT designed to hold the weight of your head! When the head starts to move forward from your body this causes a huge imbalance. It is becoming so common that it is referred to as “text neck.”
Another huge problem with the loss of curve in the neck is the biomechanics of the spine. If that curve straightens out it then can affect other curves in the spine. It also causes undue stress on the mid-neck which can lead to increased incidence of arthritis in the neck. And even more importantly – what is happening to the spinal cord if the spine is not in proper alignment? This causes more pressure and tension of the cord which affects how your entire body functions!
What can you do about this? Posture awareness is huge. Since this is very common in teenagers, education for them is very important! Encourage them to sit up straight and prop up their books/devices so they are at eye level. For adults, check your workstation at your office if you have a desk job. Is your monitor at eye level? Sometimes a low back support will help keep the whole spine in a better postural state. Often times something as simple as putting a pillow on your lap while you are on your phone for extended periods of time help to reduce the amount your head is pointing down.
Another important piece of the puzzle is chiropractic care. Adjustments of the spine ease cord tension and stress. Re-aligning the spine will help encourage the curve to return if it has reduced. There are also stretches and exercises that can be done to encourage your body to stay in proper alignment. Best of all chiropractic care works to help your whole body function better!
We only get one body… let’s take care of where we live! Keep your head up!