Show of hands – are you reading this post on a laptop or mobile device? Do you spend at least an hour a day working on a computer? If the answer is yes, consider how often you suffer from headaches. A study performed this year points to a correlation between typical head and neck positions from technology like laptops and cell phones, and – you guessed it – headaches.
The study compared women with posture-induced headaches to a control group of women in the same age group. The goal was to find what differences, if any, exist between the groups in the tilt and forward position of their heads during laptop use.
Researchers used a number of barometers to essentially measure how much of a “slump” each participant had between resting and working on a laptop. Not surprisingly, the headache group had greater head protraction, worse head position and the worst posture.
The findings support the idea that posture can play a role in headaches, and that we tend to slip into bad posture when we sit and stare at a laptop or cell phone.
You can assess your own posture by looking at yourself in a mirror. Visualize a perpendicular line that runs from your ear downward. It should pass through your shoulder and hip when seated, and over the ankle when standing. Forward position of the head moves the ear out of alignment with the other measuring points – and that’s a problem.
The average head weighs around 12 pounds, and every inch of forward positioning adds another 10 pounds of load to the neck and upper back just to keep the head upright! If your head is straining forward five inches while you work on your laptop, you’ve added 50 pounds of weight to that poor neck and the muscles in your upper back. No wonder you’re getting headaches!
The recommendation for relief and management therapy? Exercises intended to re-train posture – such as chin retractions, neck flexor strengthening, conscious head re-positioning – coupled with spinal joint manipulation for quick relief. The combination of exercise, training and chiropractic care appears to be quite effective for long-term benefits.
If you use a laptop and suffer from frequent headaches, Dr. McSweeney can demonstrate exercises designed to retrain your posture and assess you to determine whether you’d benefit from chiropractic adjustments. Learn more about your first visit and book an appointment today.