Can Poor Posture Kill You?
Are you suffering from “Silicon Valley Syndrome?”
This term relates to computer engineers back in the late 80’s and early 90’s but now in the year 2011 it relates to anyone who uses the computer for work or play; from our kids to your parents due to sitting at computers for prolonged periods of time.
This puts a lot of strain on the neck from looking at the monitor, the wrist and shoulder from using a mouse and a keyboard. And the lower back which is in the most stressful position of sitting for long periods of time is really affected.
But Can A Forward Head Posture Dysfunction Kill You?
I am not going to sit here and tell you, “yes it will” but what, I will do is share with you some information that, I found about the decline of your health as you get older and the tendency become less functional and physically active. And if you stop moving all together, you would die.
No, not really not when your is head pounding from a migraine headache or when you have a sharp pain in your back. But truth be told the dysfunctional breathing patterns will affect, your health much deeper.
In a 2004 study done right here in California by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society they measured the effects of a hyperkyphotic posture and rate of mortality in adults, I believe between 45-55. They discovered persons with hyperkyphotic posture had a 1.44 greater rate of mortality. Why? Because a hyperkyphotic posture was specifically associated with an increased rate of death due to atherosclerosis. Now of course this does not happen overnight, it is a slow progressive and cumulative process. According to the American Heart Association 81 million American suffer from some sort of Cardiovascular disease.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that when these research companies dump enough money into a study and twist the findings, they can link anything. But as a massage therapist, I know how poor posture can limit your oxygen intake.
Your rib cage is not just mode of bones its surrounded by connective tissues and muscles that need to expand and relax in-order to get maximum circulation to your vital organs. And what do you think happens when, you sit for hours in this forward head posture? These supporting structures become chronically tight and restrictive.
I could not say this any better so, I am sharing this excerpt from, The Posture Clinic. Check out the rest of this article on their website.
Studies have shown a 30% reduction in oxygen intake in people with FHP. There are two reasons. First, when the head comes forward at a sharp angle, you use the scalene muscles in the neck exclusively to draw in air. This shallow type of breathing doesn’t make use of the diaphragm, and results in a lower volume of oxygen in the body.
You can try it for yourself. Push your head out as far forward as you can, then try to draw in a deep breath. You’ll notice how little air you’re capable of inhaling.
The second reason is the collapsing of the chest wall. When the head comes forward and shoulders round, the chest cavity hollows and compresses. When the ribcage presses down on lungs, the diaphragm can’t work optimally, and air capacity is significantly reduced. The Posture Clinic
Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).
As more and more work, education and recreation involves computers, everyone needs to be aware of the hazard of Repetitive Strain Injury to the hands and arms resulting from the use of computer keyboards and mice.
This can be a serious and very painful condition that is far easier to prevent than to cure once contracted, and can occur even in young physically fit individuals. It is not uncommon for people to have to leave computer-dependent careers as a result, or even to be disabled and unable to perform tasks such as driving or dressing themselves.
Beyond the Physical Pain
Psychological distress (depression and anxiety) make pain seem worse as this creates a vicious loophole as feeling emotionally depressed decreases physical activity and increase poor sleep and eating habits. Chronic pain, regardless of its source, leads to a cycle of increasing depression and reduced physical activity. Reduced physical activity reduces pain in the short term but increases it in the long term
What You Can Do…
- Deep Tissue corrective massage work – is necessary to loosen up the contracted muscles that support the rib cage and allow it to expand.
- Strengthening & Stretching exercise programs – is necessary to stay active not staying active will limit mobility.
- A Good Nutrition Plan – is necessary to reduce inflammation and cholesterol
Correcting a forward head position when, you have been this position for years is not an easy fix but you can definitely choose to slow down the process from getting any worse because it will. Not only will your pain symptoms decrease from better posture but your health and vitality will also improve. And for athletes getting that extra oxygen rich blood into, your lungs and muscles when you are doing your event or activity will only improve performance and efficiency.