Technology is a huge part of our daily lives, whether your beavering away working at your computer, catching up with friends on facetime or scrolling the endless pictures of dogs on Instagram. Technology is fantastic and being in touch through our phones and devices is a good thing most of the time.
Habitually repeating the same movement with the body can lead to strain, injury and pain. All this forward movement in your neck is bringing your head out of alignment and your shoulders forward.
Hands up! Who is reading this on your smartphone or tablet?
Why Tech Neck is not good?
This awkward position with your neck flexed and chin poking forward to view your screen is putting large amounts of tension in the muscles around your shoulders, upper back and neck. This can aggravate your lower back as your muscles strain to hold your head.
The neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments are meant to support the head’s weight—10 to 12 pounds—in a neutral position balanced atop the cervical spine. When texting, viewing Instagram, facetiming, we tend to bend the head forward and look down at a 45- or 60-degree angle, which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck. This is about the weight of your average bag of potatoes, my head hurts just thinking about it!
How can Pilates help?
Pilates can help ‘tech neck’ in a few ways, first off Pilates improves your posture by helping you how to understand how to engage and make full use of your deep postural muscles in your trunk. During a Pilates class we always start with set up into a neutral spine position, this neutral spine position helps you to focus on your posture, thinking about your head, neck and shoulder alignment.
Try something for me. Stand up, place your feet hip width apart, soften your knees so you’re not locking the joints and tilt your pelvis so your tail bone is pointing at the floor, next to your shoulder blades, imagine them melting down your back into your back pockets of your jeans. Next create ‘space’ in your waist and in your neck, imagine you have something balancing on your head the only way to keep it there is pushing your head towards the ceiling, look to the horizon. Have you just grown a few inches? Good posture is a fundamental key to good health and wellbeing bad posture provokes most back and shoulder pain. Next time you pick up your phone, think about your posture.
Pilates exercises also look to strengthen not only our big global muscles but the small muscles that do such a superb job of keeping us sitting, standing, cycling, running. Pilates exercises that take your back into extension or in four point kneeling help to build strength in your neck flexors, which in turn help to hold your head in a better position.
Try my 30 minute Pilates class for a healthy back by clicking the link below.