How much does your head weigh? An average of 10lb. That is its weight when you hold it nice and straight, stacked above your shoulders as if you were hanging from a thread from the top of your head.
A recent study published in the USA shows how your head can go from 10lb to over 66lb of weight pulling from the top of your cervical vertebrae.
What causes such a significant hike? From the angle of which we hold our head. The further we look down to read a newspaper, from the screen of a smartphone or to use a laptop keyboard resting on our knees, the more the weight, also called stress, on our upper back and shoulders increases.
The typical angle causes our head to impose a weight of 66lb to the upper part of our spine.
Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatories for this condition. And for good reason, the pain is partly a result of muscle and ligament inflammation caused by the huge strain they are under from keeping our head in this unnatural position.
However, the real solution rests in creating better habits for ourselves :
- Hold your phone further up to your eyes.
- Less texting, less Facebook checking and general browsing on your cellphone. Yes, of course it is possible. I personally hardly ever text any more. I let everyone know that I prefer emails. What about Facebook, Twitter and other social media? On my computer, at my desk, that’s all!
- If you are working on a computer that’s badly positioned or where the screen can’t be at eye level, taking a break every 20 minutes for shoulder rotations is an absolute must.
- Practice Morning Wake Up Call I recommend on LeBootCamp 4 times every morning. And, if you can, include a regular yoga practice to your weekly routine.
- A back crawl swimming session can work miracles, so don’t hesitate donning a swimsuit and heading down to the nearest pool!
- Every evening, take the time to work on your posture. Stand up straight, breathe in pulling your shoulder blades as close together as you can (don’t worry if you hear a bit if cracking in the process) then, breathing out, draw them down as if you wanted to tuck them in back pocket. Repeat 5 times.
- Practice this other brilliant upper back stress rehab exercise: breathing in, join your hands behind your back and pull them as far away from you as you can with your arms straight as you breathe out.
- If you travel a lot, use an inflatable lap table to raise your laptop and help reduce some of the tension to your neck, shoulders and upper back.
- Work at a raised desk (the latest trend). If that isn’t possible, some workplaces offer the services of an occupational therapist who will come and help you set up your keyboard and screens in the optimal position.
- And, if you can, a massage once in a while can work miracles to get rid of these horrid tensions!
Hoping you have been reading this article from screen well positioned at proper eye level!
Valerie Orsoni, your weight loss, fitness and wellbeing coach