Look around you today and notice the number of people that look just like the picture above as they wait for the coffee at Starbucks, or at a restaurant, malls, at the office, where ever. It has probably become so common that we actually do not notice. But it is time to become self aware about Text Neck. It is a thing. And it is going to be a thing where pain suffering and disc compression will be your future if you do not correct it now.
Why is it a problem?
Posture matters. And good posture is good practice. Whether you are sitting at your desk, walking down the street, or setting up in a deadlift or a clean good posture means good alignment, good alignment greatly increases your ability to avoid injury and produce a good result when lifting weights. Being out of alignment creates wear and tear on joints, herniated or compressed discs, muscle strains etc. Eventually this can cause major pain and damage that can permanent.
Look at the graphic below. At neutral your head produces between 10-12 lbs of force on your spine, which is a light load for your cervical spine to handle. With each degree of forward tilt the amount of force greatly increases the pressure on your vertebrae and discs.
The more you do this the better you get at it, humans are adaptive creatures. We adapt to get better. The problem with getting better at this position is that it carries over into many things we do including exercise and weightlifting. When we have this dysfunctional position and we add exercise to it we can create what renowned Physical Therapist Grey Cook calls adding fitness to the dysfunction. Additionally when we add load and speeed to this dysfunctional position we create an situation where injury can occur. We do not work out in a vacuum. Our daily junk posture comes into the gym with us.
What can we do?
First, fix the crappy posture, not just some of the time all the time. Here is an entertaining yet very informative post from Author of Becoming a Supple Leopard, owner of San Francisco CrossFit and Dr of Physical Thearapy Kelly Starrett:
Second, work mobility….often. Not just when you are at CFWH, at home, at the office…….here there and everywhere. Here is a simple correction exercise that you can do anywhere that you find a bare wall.
Look around and see how many people are texting with their heads hanging forward. It’s a lot. It is still a relatively recent thing for us in the last 10-15 years. Neck problems will reach epidemic proportions if people do not become self aware. Kids are getting devices early in life imagine what will happen in 10-15 years for them. Become self aware. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
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