Tablets, video games, and smart phones are all fun to use and can make life a little bit easier, but with regular use can be a pain in the neck— quite literally. Using hand held devices forces us into a posture where we tilt our head forward to look down. This posture has become so common that researchers have coined the terms iHunch and iPosture to describe it. What many people do not realize is that this type of posture can negatively impact your child’s overall health. For every inch that your child’s head is forward, 10lbs of strain is added to their spine, muscles, ligaments and spinal cord. This can cause common symptoms such as headaches, neck soreness, numbness and tingling, but research also shows it can impact your child’s mood, memory, behaviour and performance.
How Posture May Affect Brain Function. - Mood, Behaviour, Memory, Performance
The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Our spines have the very important job of protecting the spinal cord so that our bodies can function properly. When the bones of the spine are out of alignment, or when the curves of the spine are straighter than they should be, this can wreak havoc on the way the entire brain and spinal cord function. Unfortunately the posture that is assumed when regularly using hand held devices forces the neck curve to straighten, and sometimes even reverse. This problem is becoming so common that it is now referred to as “Text Neck”. And this condition is becoming more and more common in children.
Not only can “Text Neck” cause symptoms of pain in the head and neck, but this type of posture has also been related to changes in behaviour, mood, and memory. Researchers from Brazil found that subjects with a forward head posture and forward dropped shoulders was more related to depression. In another study subjects were given instructions to sit up straight with good posture during a mock job interview. Results showed that subjects who slumped had higher rates of fear, worse mood and lower self esteem. On top of that, a German study found that poor sitting posture can negatively affect memory. Preliminary research also shows that poor posture can affect behaviour and cause individuals to become less assertive. What is interesting is that as the device size gets larger it caused subjects to become even less assertive. Finally, a Japanese study from 2009 showed that students with improved sitting posture had increased academic and writing productivity. Therefore having better posture, or should we say normal posture, will increase overall performance.
What causes poor posture:
Phones, tablets, videos games, reading, sitting for long periods, computer use, injuries, backpacks
Poor posture can lead to:
Aches, pain, fatigue, nerve and disc compression, early arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel type symptoms
At home posture screen for you and your family:
If you would like to assess your posture at home, Click Here for an easy to use posture checklist.