Friday, August 5, 2016

Text Neck and Desktop Neck

Two of the main culprits in creating forward head posture are sitting at a desk while working on the computer and constantly bending the head down to text and check emails on mobile phones. The latter has almost become epidemic.

With so many people spending hours daily peering down at digital devices, wear and tear on joints and connective tissues slowly whittles away at our uprightness. The good news is that body work and corrective exercise are on the front line against this epidemic.

The bad news is clients often wait too long to seek help, allowing time for the brain to map their aberrant forward-head postures (FHP) as normal through neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brains way of tuning itself to meet your needs.

In the beginning when your posture is bad and your head is forward putting an extra 10 to 40 lbs. of pressure on your spine mechanoreceptors send pain signals to your brain. Over time the brain wants to restore stability by building extra bone strength through spurring and other compensations. What starts out as a pain pattern becomes normal as the brain adapts to try and spare you pain. Although the pain subsides the poor posture and all the problems it causes to your neck and spine remain and in all likelihood will get worse.

Although text necks and desktop necks share the same problem of a forward head position the cervical spin has different curves. Text neckers have more of reverse c curve while desktop neckers are more of a c curve. Both problems involve facet joints that are either stuck open or closed. Facet joints are what gives your spine flexibility and allows your spine to bend forward and twist.

Here, the occiput has rolled forward on the atlas (flexion), and the head and neck are hanging by the ligaments and extensor muscles. In prolonged text-neckers, the occiput and atlas joint’s articular cartilages dehydrate and sometimes degrade. When the occiput is unable to glide freely back on atlas, people may experience pain when looking up.

Hear the client's head is forced to cock back (extend) on the atlas to level the eyes. Neurovascular compression, suboccipital spasm, and head pain are not uncommon in those with desktop forward head position.. The lower cervical spine joints are forced cram closed, creating an unsightly dowager’s hump.

The Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques developed by Erik Dalton which I have been trained in address these common problems with specific techniques designed to open facet joints that are stuck closed and close facet joints that are stuck open. Part of this process involves pushing on the facet joints themselves to open and close them.

The whole goal of the Myoskeletal Alignment Technique is to realign the head on the neck, then the neck on the shoulders, then the shoulders over the rib cage. When these three areas are in alignment a multitude of problems disappear.

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