If you are a student (or ever have been) you will know how you feel after hours of sitting at a desk studying. Headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain are all pretty common complaints amongst students and if not addressed can lead to further pain and complications later in life.
However it is not only studying that is to blame for the younger generations poor posture…. Enter ‘text neck’ a very real problem affecting many of our teenagers today. Text neck refers to the partially flexed head position most of us adopt when we stare at our mobile phones or tablets. Our heads weigh roughly 5kg so our muscles have to work pretty hard to keep everything balanced! When our head is constantly flexed forward the muscles in the front of our necks get shorter and tighter and the muscles in the back long and lazy. With the muscles not supporting the head correctly a fair bit of load is applied to the spine and that, coupled with growing bodies can end up leading to fairly debilitating pain.
In addition to ‘text neck’ there is another 21st century disease that our teenagers (and adults) are suffering from in record numbers. Picture this, a typical office worker, hunched over a desk starting at a computer for hours on end, shoulders slumped, head forward, back rounded. This is a prime example of someone suffering from ‘desk disease’. Like text neck, desk disease leads to all sorts of muscle imbalances causing anything from shoulder to lower back pain.
So how can we combat these modern day diseases and prevent our children from walking around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Ensure they take regular breaks from study (going for a quick walk can work wonders). Making sure you have good posture when using IPads and phones, brining the device up to you rather than resting it in your lap. Stretching out or self myofacial release (see the previous blog on Clinical Pilates Muscle Release) around the chest and shoulders to loosen off those poor overworked muscles can also help them straighten up. Finally strengthening the muscles at the back of the body (particularly around the shoulder blades) will ensure that they are able to maintain that perfect posture. Participating in clinical pilates to help strengthen these muscles can be a fun and easy way to start learning how to develop your postural muscles.