Contributed by Lauren Stone
As wonderful and convenient as our modern technology has become, these hand held devices can also be our greatest hinderance, as these tiny little electronic geniuses invite us to more (or less) slouch. While improving our productivity, are they adversely affecting our health? Poor posture and bad ergonomic habits are too often common side effects of a reliance on advanced communication.
If you simply take a look around you wherever you may be, someone, somewhere is engaged in some type of communication with one of these gadgets. Notice the roundness of the spine, the hunched, tense looking shoulders that practically brush their earlobes and the ‘forward head” which is a common posture that causes the shoulders to protrude forward as the weight of the head pulls the chest into an even deep slump.
As uncomfortable as it looks when actually watching someone so engaged, you would think we would realize just how painful it might feel. But that is where the hinderance falls, as these days, that is common practice. Carol Krucoff, author of Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain says “As a result, many people develop a near-constant hunched posture, which can contribute to back and neck problems as well as headaches. This posture can contribute to the risk of developing repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, because it shortens the muscles in the front of the chest and puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the arms. She also explains that “Sitting crunched forward can also compress internal organs, contributing to respiratory, circulatory and digestive problems.”
Also a problem is the size of our communication devices. Tiny phones with little condensed keyboards can strain the limits of our adult sized hands. Give the wrists and fingers a good stretch throughout the day. It is amazing how restricted those tiny muscles can become when we constantly position them in the same form. The same goes for the neck and head as well. Positioning those vital body parts in a downward hunch again is extremely restrictive to the muscles and will in fact lead to problems if not eventually corrected.
Become mindful each day as you find yourself engaged with some type of electronic; become aware of the position of your head; the position of your neck; are you squinting your eyes? Are your shoulders scrunched to your ears? If so, stop for a moment, have a quick laugh at yourself for looking strangely uncomfortable and then relax the spine to a straight and proper upward stance, knowing you didn’t surrender to the slouch of today’s society.