Rounder shoulders, forward head posture, “tech neck” and upper cross syndrome. What do all these things have in common? They all come from one thing, using our screens too much. The way society is going it’s causing everyone to spend more time at their screens and less time getting up and moving. All the screen time affects our posture in a negative way creating tightness and weakness in all the wrong places. Most jobs require us to sit at a monitor and 9 times out of 10 we do not have a proper set up. Most people are looking down at their screen, reaching across their body, typing on a small keyboard and sitting for the majority of the day. As a result we start to develop more of a forward lean in our neck. Since we aren’t looking at things at eye level it causes us to stress muscles in the front of our neck. These muscles’ primary function is flexing our head forward but when we feed into them, allowing them to flex.
As we continue to look down at screens another thing happens, our shoulders begin to round forward and in. Sitting and working at desks causes us to internally rotate our shoulders and this eventually becomes our normal posture. We begin to slouch and bend forward because we get tired trying to keep ourselves up right. We start to neglect our back muscles and use them less and less. The muscles on the front of our body get used more and more until they start to pull us forward. The culmination of the weak and unused back muscles and over used muscles on the front of our body result in something called upper cross syndrome. Upper cross syndrome is when our mid and lower trap muscles become weak from lack of use and our pectoral and neck muscles become tight.
Why Does it Matter?
Sitting for prolonged periods of time is not good for your posture and you could end up booking like a hunchback.
When we sit our glutes and core muscles turn off and our back muscles over contract. This is a recipe for back pain.
Bad Posture can be the culprit behind headaches, neck pain, chest pain and tightness, restricted range of motion at the neck, lower back pain and numbness and tingling in the arm.
What Can I Do?
Fix Your Workstation: Raise your monitor, get a good supportive chair, get off your laptop.
Get a Standing desk: Having a standing desk will make it so we can’t slouch over and we use our stabilizer muscles more. This leads to better posture
Stretch Your Tight Flexors: Use a lacrosse ball to roll your chest muscles and then stretch in the corner of a wall. Stretch your SCM and trap by flexing your head to the side and back. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Over time you will begin to notice a change in your positioning and feeling of your body. This will not be an immediate change but more gradual. Consistency is key, the more you try to fix it, the better it will get!