If you are like most people, you just sat up straighter. Some people will admit their posture is off; many that don’t, should. In our society today there are many factors that contribute to bad posture. Texting is one! Many people work on computers all day. The way you sit, stand, read, drive, and work can all put added stress on your spine. Here is a summary of research in the journal Surgical Technology International.
At zero degrees
Standing up straight. Neck & spine supports 10-12 pounds (the actual weight of your head). But with every degree you tilt forward, that weight increases.
At 15 degrees
A slight lean. Neck & spine stressed to 27 pounds.
At 60 degrees
Visible lean. Neck & spine stressed to 60 pounds.
As your spine is subjected to increased stress and wear and tear and degeneration can occur. If not treated early it can lead to discomfort, pain, headaches, increase posture changes, disc injuries and eventually nerve damage.
So what do you do? Well, you just sat up straighter — try to keep that position all day. Adjust your desk, chair, keyboard, etc… to have better posture. Be aware of the position of your body in everyday activities. Stop texting!! Just kidding, but be aware of the position of your head and neck. Beware of what I call the “turtle neck”– no, not the sweater. It’s the position where your head is 15-60 degrees in front of your shoulders (see the picture above). You want your head to be straight and sitting over your shoulders. This is also true all the way down your spine as well. Your shoulders should be level, as well as your hips. Ears, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles should make a nice straight line down the side of your body. Poor posture is a sign of problems to come. You want to look like photo #1. If you are becoming a turtle, or have any other posture issues, they can be corrected with chiropractic and physical therapy before damage sits in.