Across the world, many people have been teleworking from their kitchen table, coffee table and nightstand. You know that you aren’t always in the best position, but bad ergonomics and poor posture may be more destructive than you thought. Let’s look at what’s happening in our bodies from an anatomical standpoint, and see how chiropractic can provide relief and health.
Get Rid of Forward Head Posture
When you are slouched over your laptop, there’s extra weight pulling on your neck. Physics says keeping your head so far forward from your shoulders has a big effect. Every inch forward you hold your head adds about an extra 10 pounds of weight to your cervical spine!
You may feel this added neck tension spanning from the base of your skull or all the way to your shoulder blades. This is because the trapezius muscles stretch from your skull down to the middle of your back. They literally keep your head on your body; when your head is pulled forward, your traps are under a lot of stress.
“It wouldn’t be surprising if after sitting that way for a day, a week, a month, six weeks that you just feel a lot of tension in that area,” said Dr. Megan Afshar Martins. This is something that she and Dr. Lindsey Merritt have seen at Upstate Specific Chiropractic lately.
How Kids Are Affected by Poor Posture
Many students, from preschool to college, have spent weeks doing school work at home. While they may seem more adaptable and flexible to odd positions, kids need good ergonomics too.
Choose a table and good chair so they aren’t slouching. Set their laptop or Chromebook a little higher, even on a stack of books, so they are looking straight across at the screen.
If kids are watching something on a smartphone, set or prop it up so they look up at it. We want their head to be in a relaxed neutral position, not being pulled down.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, many didn’t think they’d be teleworking for long. Is it worth it to set up or modify a whole ergonomic workstation at home for you and your kids for just a few days? YES.
Ergonomics Affect The Nervous System Too
All the stress and tension of poor posture causes the spinal cord to be put into positions that it isn’t meant to be put in. This creates a potential for subluxation, which is going to cause interference between your brain and your body.
That interference affects so much more than just your muscles being achy. It affects your life flow and expression.
When our brain can’t communicate well through the nervous system, the function of every other system and organ can be affected. This creates dis-ease and discomfort, lowering how you function through your daily life and activities.
The Neurological Effect of Bad Posture
Body positions that put us in flexion, with our head down, are more defensive. This puts us into a sympathetic state, our body’s involuntary fight-or-flight response to stress. When you aren’t a baby anymore, being in a fetal position isn’t a relaxed state.
When we can stretch out with gentle extension, our bodies are more relaxed. This brings us into a parasympathetic state, also called rest-and-digest.
Neurologically, we can work and learn better when we are in a restful state, not a stressed one. Researchers studied the effect of poor posture on college students during a math test; over half of them performed better when sitting upright.
Another study had striking results that showed good spinal posture actually gives you more confidence. We say someone has backbone for a reason!
Seventy-one Ohio State students were given instructions on what positions to use while rating themselves as a future professional. The ones who told to sit up straight were by far more positive than the ones who were told to slump and slouch. The research appears in the October 2009 issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology.
Sitting ergonomically can actually help you and your children to work and study better, because your brain is communicating better.
After weeks of stress, you or loved ones may be feeling the tension physically. Come get evaluated and adjusted by Dr. Megan and Dr. Lindsey. To schedule an appointment call us at (864) 520-1154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get your nervous system functioning without any interferences. You can also read our post with solutions for using various devices in the best way for your spine and nervous system.
Other local resources include the Brain Balance Center here in Greenville, which helps children with a number learning differences. As stated on their website, “The Brain Balance program is specifically designed to strengthen and build brain connectivity with a unique combination of physical, sensory, and cognitive activities. When you work these brain functions together, different networks in the brain fire together. Over time, this changes the speed and efficiency in the brain’s communication pathways.”
We’d also recommend getting more movement and flexibility to your spine with massage or yoga.
- Kapandji IA. The Physiology of the Joints, Volume III. 6th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007.