The under 20's new health crisis

Kids of the 2000’s have been exposed to a new health concern… technology and flat desks! All forms of technology – cell phones, ipads, ipods, laptops and the new modern “flat desks” at school drive your head down and forward leading to bad posture. Back packs are also a villain as they drive your head forward to counteract the pull backwards.

Poor posture affects your brain, organ, joint and immune health. For those under 20 years old, bad posture leads to a banana shaped spine that causes major health problems if not caught before the spine finishes developing by age 23. It also puts your body in a state of stress which makes you store fat! Bad posture also slows your thinking and hinders your sports performance, not to mention it slows down your healing time. For these reasons it is now considered the new health crisis.

Hours of school work on a computer, ipads/pods, flat desks all promote a forward head posture and create the beginnings of your “Gorilla Posture”!

Posture affects everything: gravity rules

From your head to your toes, posture affects the entire body.  Here is why:
the minute you became stood up on two legs, gravity began its journey of push and pull on every joint and organ in your body. Standing upright with your head balanced over your shoulders creates no harm, however, the early introduction of computers, cell phones, ipads and flat desks forces you to drop you head forward and down which alters your posture dramatically.

When your head drops forward, your posture breaks down and the domino effect begins… uneven loading to your joints, compression to your organs, slow blood flow to your brain and spinal compression. Pain, sickness, weight gain and injury follow close behind. The reason is clear:

A minimal drop of the chin forward a mere 2 cm equates to your normal 0-3 kilo head weight becoming a whopping 8-10+ kilos for your neck and shoulder muscles to carry (those of you using technology gadgets drop your heads 4-6 cm). As your head drops forward your back slumps into gorilla posture, squeezing blood and oxygen out of your brain, joints, organs and your lungs.

All this puts your body in a state of “stress” which will trigger fat storing, slow down healing and depress your immune system.

Detecting bad posture

Your feet are full of clues! They reveal the secrets to how you stack upwards.

Posture begins from the ground up; your feet are the last place your body can adapt to gravity before it hits solid ground. All that forward head posture we mentioned above, gives gravity momentum creating excessive load down to your feet.

So if you have drop arches, flat feet, ankle/foot pain, or have foot problems, it is highly likely you have a postural problem. Other indicators of bad posture include:

  • Headaches
  • Sore neck and shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Indigestion
  • Belly fat
  • Slow healing
  • Anxiety
  • Poor sleep

If you can tick a few of those above indicators it’s time for you to get your posture assessed and corrected. Simple exercises can help you unravel your bad posture before it becomes a major health crisis. The rewards and benefits will last a lifetime.

Management is crucial

Cell phones and all forms of technology are an amazing part of your learning and future, so you must add management into your daily schedule.

Prevention tips:

  1. Lift your cell phone up to eye level to read/send text messages to avoid dropping your head forward
  2. Get a proper stand for your ipad and look down with your eyes not your head
  3. When reading at a school desk, lift book or handout to eye level while propping elbows on flat desk
  4. Laptops are villains! Do not put your laptop in your lap – it forces you to drop your head. Sit at a desk with laptop on top of a few books and get an external keyboard. Or at least prop it up on a few pillows in your lap.

By Dr Theresa Dobson
Chiropractor & Certified Nutritionist