We all spend so much time bent over electronic devices these days, we’re facing a virtual epidemic of rounded shoulders and extended necks, or what Dr Alex Hopwood (pictured below) calls “cyber-slump”. A curved spine and “goose neck” can impact your training, cause injuries, put pressure on the lower back and lead to myriad health problems down the track. Dr Hopwood, a Chiropractic BioPhysics Practitioner (CBP) and director of a number of Health Space Clinics around Sydney, says we need to act now to stand tall in the future.
Check You Posture
Ask a friend to take a photo of you sitting at your desk and then examine it closely. Are your shoulders rounded? Do you have something of a stoop? Does your head crane forward? If you continue along this route, your misalignment will only grow worse and you may suffer headaches, migraines, pins and needles in your hands and arms, and pain in the back and/or shoulders.
Sit Up Straight
Sitting as far back into your chair as you can helps promote good posture. When talking on the phone, don’t hunch down – bring it up to your face. Keep your elbows tucked tight into your sides, your head high, and reading at eye level. That can be a good exercise for your core at the same time.
Check Your Work Equipment
Do you have a chair that helps you sit straight or does it encourage you to slump? Saddle seats are highly recommended for tilting the pelvis forward and allowing the spine to keep
its natural curve. Also make sure your computer monitor is directly in front of you and that your eyes are level with the centre of the screen.
Open Up The Chest
Most of our everyday motion tends to be forward and stooping, so we need to do extensions in the opposite direction. In a chair, put your hands out to the side, take a deep breath in and out, and rotate your arms and shoulders backwards. Do this three to five times a day. On the floor, lie face down with your arms by your sides and palms facing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, look up and lean backwards off the
ground, flipping your palms over to face the floor with each upward movement. Do 30 reps.
Consider buying a Denneroll, a hard foam spinal orthotic engineered with curves and ridges that you place between your shoulder blades when you’re lying on your back. It’s designed to promote an extension of your upper back. Otherwise, use a foam roller horizontally behind your back and extend yourself over it.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re concerned about your posture or you have symptoms that could be attributed to a misaligned spine, visit a CBP who specialises in spinal rehabilitation and postural correction. They conduct functional, neurological and postural testing to determine the best course of action, which may include traction adjustments and home rehabilitation exercises.