Do You Have Tech Neck?

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What is Tech Neck?

Forward head posture aka Tech Neck is a postural distortion pattern of the head and neck.  When your head goes forward into anterior translation or forward flexion the amount of pressure on the neck and shoulders increases.

 

Did you know that when you bend your neck forward at varying angles the amount of pressure on the neck multiplies?  When the head is in a neutral position it weighs approximately 10-12 pounds.  When you look down at a 15-degree angle the number of weight increases to 27pounds.  The further your head goes forward into flexion, the more pressure there is on the neck.

 

When you look down at your smartphone at a 60-degree angle, it can add up to 60 pounds of pressure to your neck and shoulders!

 

You can have a friend check to see if you have Tech Neck by performing a simple test.  From the side, your ears should be aligned over your shoulders.  If your ears are forward in relation to your shoulders, you may be suffering from forward head posture.

 

Forward head posture can be caused by looking downward with forward flexion for prolonged periods of time like while looking at a smartphone or tablet or reading.  It can also be caused by jutting the head forward for prolonged periods of time while viewing a computer screen or sitting with slouched posture.

 

Research studies show varying percentages of patients presenting with forward head posture.  One research study performed in 2020 shows that 73% of university students present with forward head posture (Singh, Kaushal, & Jasrotia, 2020).  Other studies show a prevalence of 67% among university students (Ramalingam & Subramaniam, 2019) and 63% among adolescents ages 12 to 16 years of age (Verma et al., 2018).

 

Symptoms of Tech Neck Posture

If you have forward head posture, you may be experiencing these symptoms, or can develop these symptoms later on:

  • Neck pain: your neck feels tight or stiff
  • Shoulder tightness: your shoulders feel tight, especially after a long day of work
  • Headaches: you may experience headaches that can start in your neck and go up to your head
  • Migraines: heightened sensitivity combined with poor posture may result in a migraine
  • Jaw pain: you may experience clicking of your jaw or pain in the jaw
  • Pain down your arm: you may experience pain that radiates from your neck down your arm to your hand

 

How Can Teck Neck Affect Your Health?

If forward head posture is left uncorrected, it may impact your health in multiple ways.  For example, forward head posture may be a contributing factor to these health effects:

  • Decreased neck range of motion: neck stiffness with difficulty moving your head to one side or the other.
  • Respiratory dysfunction: long-term respiratory dysfunction can result in hyperventilation, mouth breathing, labored chest breathing, and more stress to your body.
  • TMJ dysfunction: the temporomandibular joint is the joint in your jaw to open and close your mouth. Forward head posture may impact the position and function of your jaw.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: pain in your wrist and hand can occur from spending many hours typing while sitting in poor posture. If your head is forward and there is a strain on your wrist it may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Impaired balance: the position of your neck impacts how your body balances upright. With forward head posture your body may have an altered body position sense, called proprioception.

 

Risk Factors for Tech Neck

Forward head posture is due to poor posture habits while performing long or repetitive tasks, such as working at your computer.  In many cases forward head posture is caused by a slumped position of the mid-back and shoulders, resulting in anterior carriage of the head.

  • Looking downward with forward flexion of the cervical spine for prolonged periods of time (looking at a smartphone or tablet)
  • Jutting the head forward for prolonged periods of time while viewing a computer screen
  • Reading with the head down or jutting forward
  • Poor sleeping posture with the head in neck flexion or anterior translation from too many pillows
  • Slumped forward seated posture with a postural hyperkyphosis and resultant forward head posture

 

Prevention Strategies

Simple switches to your posture habits can help you prevent postural distortion patterns.  Focusing on improving your back, neck, and head posture to prevent forward head posture.  A postural distortion pattern in one quadrant of your body can impact the alignment of the rest of your body.

 

  1. Perform Posture Breaks

Reverse the pressure of gravity by going “anti-gravity”

Bring your arms straight out to the sides

Press your chest forward

Drop your head back

Hold for 30 seconds

Perform for 30 seconds every hour of your workday

 

  1. Bring Your Smartphone Up to Eye Level

Bring your elbows into your body so your arms are supported

Hold your phone up with your arms supported

Navigate your phone with your device up, not looking down

 

  1. Raise Your Computer Monitor

Place something such as a box or books underneath your computer monitor to raise your screen up to eye level

Look forward at your screen instead of slouching your shoulders and allowing your head to translate forward

 

Treatment Options

Postural correction treatment plans consist of 3 primary components: (1) Spinal Alignment (2) Posture Rehabilitation and (3) Posture Habit Re-Education.

 

The spinal alignment will help realign the spine and hips.  If one part of your back or hips is out of alignment, it can impact the alignment of the rest of your body.  Safe techniques of spinal alignment will ensure proper alignment.

 

Posture rehabilitation targets the muscles and soft tissues to maintain proper posture.  Posture rehabilitation includes alignment exercises, balance exercises, core control, and stretching tight muscles, and strengthening weak postural muscles.

 

Posture habit re-education is having better postural alignment while performing activities of daily living.  For example, keeping your head up and shoulders back while on your devices.

 

This comprehensive program of postural correction will help you achieve a posture transformation to look better, move better, and feel better.

 

How Can We Help?

We recommend considering conservative treatment options.  To determine if you are a good candidate for conservative care, we recommend a consultation and a complete posture analysis for specialized patient-centered care options.

 

References:

Burns, K. (2021) Forward Head Posture, American Posture Institute Blog

 

Ramalingam, V., & Subramaniam, A. (2019). Prevalence and associated risk factors of forward head posture among university students. SCOPUS IJPHRD CITATION SCORE10(7), 775.

 

Singh S, Kaushal K, Jasrotia S. Prevalence of forward head posture and its impact on the activity of daily living among students of Adesh University – A cross-sectional study. Adesh Univ J Med Sci Res 2020;2(2):99-102.

 

Verma, S. L., Shaikh, J., Mahato, R. K., & Sheth, M. S. (2018). Prevalence of forward head posture among 12-16 year old school going students: A cross sectional study. Applied Medical Research4(2), 18-21.

 

 

 

 

Disc Herniation and Posture

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What is Disc Herniation?

Between each vertebrae of the spine are intervertebral discs, or cushions for support and mobility of the spine.  The intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers for the spine.

The center of the disc, which is a liquid-like substance, is called the nucleus pulposus.  The annulus fibrosus is a fibrous tissue that surrounds the nucleus pulposus.  Disc herniation is a bulging of the nucleus pulposus into the annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc.

When the disc herniation pinches the spinal nerve you may experience pain down your leg if the disc herniation is in the lower back, or pain down your arm if the disc herniation is in the neck.

Disc herniation can occur at any spinal level, although it is most common in the lumbar spine, followed by the cervical spine.

The incidence of a herniated disc is about 5 to 20 cases per 1000 adults annually (Dydyk, Massa, & Mesfin, 2020).  Lumbar disc herniation is one of the most common causes of low back pain (Kerr, Zhao, & Lurie, 2015).

The most common levels of disc herniation of the lumbar spine are L4-L5 and L5-S1.  The most common levels of disc herniation of the cervical spine are C5-C6 and C6-C7.

90% of people who experience back pain due to a disc herniation will have a decline in symptoms within 6 weeks.  Herniated discs are more common in people over the age of 30, and are about twice as common in men as they are in women (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare, 2020).

Symptoms of Disc Herniation

It is possible to be asymptomatic.  Some people don’t realize they have a disc herniation until symptoms begin or it is identified on specialized imaging.  The symptoms experienced are dependent on where the disc herniation is located, whether it is in the neck or the lower back.

  • Neck pain: if the disc herniation is in your neck it can cause neck pain with stiffness, tightness, and decreased range of motion

  • Low back pain: if the disc herniation is in your lower back it can cause back pain with stiffness, tightness, and decreased range of motion

  • Shooting pain: pain can shoot down your arm or leg. The pain may feel “electric” and go from your neck down your arm or from your back down your leg

  • “Pins and Needles”: you may have abnormal sensations such as the feeling of “pins and needles” or numbness in your arm or leg.

How Can Disc Herniation Impact Your Health? 

If left untreated, disc herniation may continue to affect the sensory and/or motor function of your upper or lower extremity.

  • Motor Weakness: you may have weakness in your arm or leg that can lead to clumsiness, difficulty performing certain tasks with your upper extremity, or difficulty walking in advanced cases. A decreased motor function can be associated with poor balance and an increased risk of falls.

  • Abnormal Sensation: you may have abnormal sensations such as “pins and needles” or numbness in your arm or leg that can get progressively worse. Numbness may impact proprioception and balance.

Risk Factors for Disc Herniation

Disc herniation is caused by “wear and tear” and dehydration of the discs.  “Wear and tear” can be caused by occupational demands such as repetitive lifting, twisting, pushing, pulling, and bending, especially with heavy loads.  The discs may lose their pliability and become dehydrated from smoking and weight gain.

  • Occupational Demands: Persons who perform repetitive lifting, twisting, pushing, pulling, and bending, especially with heavy loads are predisposed to disc herniation

  • Weight Gain: Obese and overweight persons are more prone to disc herniation due to increased weight on the discs

  • Smoking: Persons who smoke may experience “drying” of the disc due to less oxygenation of the intervertebral disc

Potential Complications of Disc Herniation

In rare cases, disc herniation can be an emergency.  If the disc protrudes into the spinal canal restricting the nerves of the cauda equina, the patient may experience bilateral weaknesses, loss of sensation in a saddle anesthesia presentation of the inner thighs and around the rectum, and deficits of function of their bowel and bladder control.

Prevention Strategies

To prevent disc herniation it is important to consider lifestyle factors such as staying active, preventing weight gain, and avoiding smoking.

Also, consider the importance of proper posture and ergonomics in the workplace.  Sit with proper posture and perform occupational tasks such as lifting with proper posture.

Avoid compromised postures, such as sitting for prolonged periods of time with slumped forward posture.  While seated your head should be retracted back so your ears are over your shoulders, your shoulders are pulled back and not slouched forward, your hips are underneath your shoulders, your knees are at a 90-degree angle with your knees over your ankles, and your feet flat on the ground facing forward.

Avoid crossing your legs, slouching your spine, looking down for prolonged periods of time, and shifting your hips forward in your chair.

Avoid lifting heavy objects by bending forward at the waist.  For proper lifting posture, stand close to the item you are lifting, bend with your legs, not from your hips, keep your back straight, and make sure you have proper balance.  Lift the item up straight and do not twist your spine while lifting.  Hold the item close to your body so it is easier to lift.

Treatment Options

Conservative treatments for the management of pain associated with disc herniation may include:

  • Postural correction

  • Ergonomics

  • Chiropractic

  • Physical therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Yoga

These treatment options are not considered medical advice.  Please consult your physician if you think you are having an emergency and for information regarding medication and surgery.

How We Can Help???

We recommend considering conservative treatment options.  To determine if you are a good candidate for conservative care, we recommend a consultation and a complete posture analysis for specialized patient-centered care options.

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References:

Burns, K. (2020) Disc Herniation and Posture, American Posture Institute Blog

Dydyk, A. M., Massa, R. N., & Mesfin, F. B. (2020). Disc Herniation. StatPearls [Internet].

Kerr, Dana, Wenyan Zhao, and Jon D. Lurie. “What are long-term predictors of outcomes for lumbar disc herniation? A randomized and observational study.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® 473.6 (2015): 1920-1930.

Slipped Disk: Overview, National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health. 2020.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare.

 

Sitting too much while working from home? Follow these steps to get more movement in your day

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Working from home has forced us to make some pretty abrupt changes in our daily routines. We have the best intentions to meet your daily step goals. It can be harder to do when you’re spending more time in the house. Working from home has increased our risk of sitting disease.  We are sucked into a more sedentary lifestyle when you don’t really have anywhere to go and the couch is literally right there.

 

When you’re spending more time in the house, getting in 10,000 steps can be a bit challenging. These tips and tricks will help get you there.

 

  1. Set an alarm to stand up. Because of Covid, we have evolved to be sedentary. Technology has made it all too easy for people to spend their lives moving from car seat to office chair. Standing is Paramount for our health. Standing relieves some of the pressure on the spine. When you sit down your core muscles relax putting all the stress on your (lower) spine, this causes frequent back pain and the so-called ‘Tech Neck’ and ‘ihunch’. Stand as much as you can…whenever you can. Walking, stretching and exercises burns 3-5 times the calories than sitting does.

 

  1. Drink more water: Several studies have shown that even mild dehydration in men can lead to increased fatigue and anxiety. It can also negatively affect memory and cognitive performance.  Similarly, other studies showed that slightest dehydration in women can cause decreased concentration, depression, headaches, or migraines. The simplest tip which unfortunately is the least practiced by office workers is keeping body fluids replenished by drinking water regularly to perform better mentally as well as physically. Lastly, you will have to urinate more. Forcing you to get up

  2. Alternate your office chair. Sure, your chair should be (for the most part) ergonomically correct. Who’s to say that you have to sit in that chair all day, though? Swap out your chair for an exercise ball that you can use at certain times of your workday instead. You’ll be exercising your core and leg muscles without even realizing it as you work on those expense reports. For an even bigger benefit, take your laptop with you; place it on your kitchen counter (or any other high shelf) and work while standing up.

If you are ready to improve productivity and be more comfortable as you work from home. Shoot me a DM to set up your virtual posture screen. So, we can make your desk more Ergonomically sound.

 

Follow me on Instagram for more posture and ergonomic hacks so you can work comfortably from home.

 

3 simple at home exercises to fix Text Neck

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It’s safe to say you’re probably reading this article from your handheld device or computer screen. It’s also safe to say you are probably hunched over, engaging in a seriously harmful position.  When you are hunched over reading an article, tweet, etc. You are increasing your risk of text neck.

Text Neck is a serious postural dysfunction that we ALL suffer from. Take a look around. How many of your friends, family, co-workers having this flexor dominant posture?  Are their shoulders rolled forward, neck out like a turtle? This has become the new posture of this generation. Our bodies are adapting to technology at an alarming rate. 

What is Text Neck? Definition: head forward, shoulders rounded, and back slumped. This flexor dominant position, also known as “text neck,” is a real epidemic.

Most people spend approximately five-seven hours per day on their phones. Endless amounts of scrolling and Google searches. That amount of screen time can lead to some serious text-neck aches and pains…OUCH! 

Researchers at Harvard Medical Health predict that 7 out of 10 people will experience neck aches at some point in their lives. Because let’s be honest. Are we really going to put down our smartphone??? 

Let’s talk about what text neck and what it does to your body. It compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon, and ligament in the front of the neck. At the same time, it lengthening the muscles, tendon, and ligament structures behind the neck. Now, you have these push/pull muscles imblances going on. 

Image result for weight on head postureThe human head weighs 8-10 pounds. For every inch, your head is tilted forward, the weight your neck has to carry doubles. But ditching our devices isn’t really an option. Instead, what we can do is make sure we do corrective exercises that help us adopt healthy tech posture to prevent the aches and pains associated with text neck.

 

Here are my top 3 corrective exercises to reverse Text Neck

 Chin Tucks

1) Chin tucks. Sit up tall in your chair and keep your chin parallel to the floor.

2) Without tilting your head in any direction, gently draw your head and chin back, like you’re making a double chin (the only time we want a double chin).

***Be careful not to jam your head back. You should feel a stretch along the back of the neck***

 

Cat/Camel

1)To begin with, the ‘cat’ phase, use your core strength to curl your spine toward the ceiling while tucking in your tailbone as you exhale.

2)Lengthen your neck and allow your chin to reach down and in, toward your chest, so your ears are next to your biceps.

3)To begin the ‘cow’ phase, scoop your pelvis so your belly drops down to the floor as you inhale. Broaden across your shoulder blades, drawing your shoulders away from your ears, and lift your chin and chest to gaze up toward the ceiling.

Change how you hold your phone

This is the most simple and ALWAYS ignored way of reversing Text Neck. Simply, get out of the iHunch position by bringing the screen to eye level so your head is not slouched.

Adopting a healthy tech posture is so very important. Especially, in our work from home culture. Try these 3 simple movements to help reverse text neck and relieve your deskbound aches and pains. 

 

For more info on how to adopt a healthy tech posture. Follow me on Instagram @mikejonestoday

 

How to Treat Forward Head Posture

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Forward head posture occurs when your neck slants forward, placing your head in front of your shoulders. It’s caused by bad habits, such as spending long periods sitting at your computer or looking down at your cell phone. Forward head posture forces the muscles in your neck and back to work harder to keep your head upright.

When dealing with this “new posture” of today. I treat it similarly to treating whiplash. I address the scales which is a group of muscles located on the side of the neck. Originating from the neck vertebra, they run all the way down to the first rib. The primary purpose of the scalene muscles is to laterally flex the neck (i.e., to tilt your head sideways).

How to perform a Scalene Release
1. Locate your lateral scalene by placing your fingers right above your collarbone, halfway out to your shoulder. There you should feel the muscle attachment of the scalene.
2. Hold down the muscle and bend your head to the opposite side. …
3. Do this combination of movements until you feel the muscle release.

👋🏾Follow me on IG @mikejonestoday for daily fitness, rehab and #selfcare tips!!!

Why Won’t My Baby Bump Go Away?

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You’ve carried your little one for 9 months. But, 9 months postpartum you are still having trouble losing the excess weight around your core? The answer may be this often ignored condition called, Diastasis Recti.

When you are pregnant, your stomach stretches to accommodate the baby growing inside of you. Your stomach will stretch where there is the least resistance. Which is usually right down the middle.
In some cases, the fitter you were or the harder your abs were before pregnancy, actually can make it more difficult to snap back!

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis (which means separation) recti (outer abdominal muscles) are the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles. When the muscles separate the connective tissue joining this muscle stretches sideways. The job of these muscles (called rectus abdominis) is to support your back and your organs.

100% of moms have some level of Diastasis Recti by the third trimester. Even men can acquire this condition from fad dieting or from performing incorrect weightlifting techniques.

Your chances of ab separation are increased when having a child after age 35, delivering twins/triplets, or have more than one child.

What are some signs of a diastasis?
Feelings of weakness and back pain after pregnancy are common, so diastasis is something that often gets missed

Although diastasis isn’t painful and is not typically obvious until the postpartum period, it can sometimes be detected around the 25-week mark during pregnancy via a physical exam or ultrasound.

Signs during pregnancy is when the belly takes on a cone or dome-shaped look when you activate your abdominal muscles as you’re leaning back on the couch or trying to sit up in bed

Other signs include:
• Weakness in core
• Low back pain
• A bulging belly
• Poor Posture
• Outie belly button
• Constipation
• Half football bulge when bringing the shoulders off the floor
• A belly that gets bigger after eating and at the end of the day
• Urine leaking while laughing or sneezing

A lot of moms say their core feels weak when they go to pick up something like a bag of groceries—it feels like there’s nothing there

Diastasis is not bad—it’s what your body is naturally supposed to do to accommodate the growth of your baby. Postpartum, it’s bringing the abs back together and restoring function in those muscles that are important.

So why should you care if your muscles are separated?
Because separated muscles are weak muscles. Separated muscles cannot do their job of supporting your back and organs. To achieve a strong core, your muscles must be close together. The sideways stretching of the connective tissue causes it to become thinner and weaker.

So, what happens is this weak saran wrap-like connective tissue is NOT effectively supporting your belly button, low back, and organs. They are only supported when the muscles are close together.

What are the effects of a diastasis on the body?
Back pain, abdominal hernias, poor posture, pelvic floor problems, gastrointestinal disturbances like constipation and bloating are all effects of a diastasis.
They occur when the support system for the back and organs are the weak connective tissue instead of the muscles. Most women who have had a baby do have diastasis recti.

Steps for testing

• Lie down on your back with both knees bent
• Place your index and middle finger directly above your belly button.
• Raise your head and shoulders off the supporting surface and feel for any gap or dip under your fingers. Note the width and depth of separation.
• Lower your head and shoulders back to starting position

Repeat this test 1-2 inches below your belly button and about 1-2 inches below your sternum.

Clinically, Diastasis Recti is defined by a separation > 2.5 cm wide, this is about 2 fingers wide. But it is really the depth that indicates how strong your connective tissue is which is what will keep your tummy in.

And the difference in depth when engaged which shows how well your TVAs are firing.

How to heal Diastasis Recti

Don’t freak out if you’re less than eight weeks postpartum—healing takes time. During this period, some women are lucky enough to have what is called a “spontaneous recovery,” meaning the connective tissue linking the large ab muscles knits back together or comes close enough to restore normal core function.

Most women will say, ‘I look like I’m still five months pregnant. I’ve lost my weight, and I’m back in my normal jeans, except for my tummy. Usually, it’s not baby weight. It’s the diastasis.

I’ve known some of my clients to wear corsets to bring the abs back together. Unfortunately, this a short-lived option because you still are not addressing the muscles of the core.

Before you get down on the floor to exercise and do 100 crunches a day. You should know that most common core exercises—crunches, abdominal twists and, when done incorrectly, planks—can all worsen the condition.

The best ab exercises for women with diastasis are the ones that target the deep core stabilizers.

These exercises tend to be low impact exercise that won’t even make you break a sweat. They are just as effective and more beneficial for your condition than you dong a 30min core class at the gym.

Things you should avoid:
Avoid traditional crunches, sit-ups, and planks postpartum until your abdomen is healed from diastasis recti. These exercises can make the condition worse.
• Strenuous exercises where your ab muscles are bulging out
• Holding your baby on one hip, if it’s painful
• Lifting or carrying heavy loads
• Coughing without supporting your ab muscles

If you have any questions please comment below, and if this was useful for you please share this article. Don’t let other mommy’s wonder WHY they can’t regain their flat belly.

It’s never too late to get it looked at. There’s always something you can do!

For more information on how to heal Diastasis Recti visit: www.mikejonestoday.com 

For 30 Day core correcting program: http://www.mikejonestoday.com/coreclass

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“The stretches and exercises Mike taught me has made a huge difference in my low back”
“I tried this program for the initial 30 days and I was blown away.”
“I have learned so much about how to take care of my body and live pain free.”

Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere

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Always on the go with no gym in sight? Try this exercises to correct posture and give you nice, toned shoulders and arms.

When doing the seated row with a resistance band, it’s important to sit up straight — to get the most benefit from this back strengthening move and to avoid injuring your back.

Step 1

Assume start position as shown by sitting on floor and wrapping tube around feet. Make sure to sit up as straight as possible.

Step 2

Bend at elbows and pull band toward body.
Step 3

Squeeze shoulder blades

Step 4
Return to start position

Lost in the gym and looking for a quick workout routine? Check out: https://www.mikejonestoday.com/fit-functional-challenge/

Why your smartphone is a pain in your neck

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Chances are you’re reading this while leaning over a table or slumped back in a chair. Your head is tilted forward; your shoulders are curved.
If you’re on a mobile device, your arms are bent by your side and your back hunch is even more profound.
Am I right?
The position you’re in is probably causing you pain, whether you’re aware of it yet or not. Don’t worry, physical therapists have a diagnosis for the headaches, neck cricks, and achy shoulders. They call it “Text Neck.”

Want to find out how you to can ease “tech neck” pain? Want to know the secrets of eliminating “tech neck?” Find out how: https://goo.gl/tTxrFg