On this website as well as on our Facebook page, I tend to post more scientific than opinion papers. However, an article named How the Back Pain Industry is Taking Patients for a Dangerous Ride has come to my attention this week, and it is worth sharing it. The authors Danielle Venton and Jon Brooks make there a few important points:
A strict adherence to our "hands off paradigm" is key to being able to provide distance treatment for postural disorders.
"Text neck" is an umbrella concept to describe the neck (and head) symptoms of those spending too much time on their smartphone (typically to write text messages). The March 2017 issue of the Spine Journal rings the alarm bell: practitionners notice an increase in the prevalence of the issue.
We absolutely agree on the fact that mobile screen devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) are a health hazard. Our main and most effective recommendation is therefore to limit their usage time. One way to do so is to call rather than to text, another one is to send vocal messages (e.g., via Whatsapp) rather than to type. Teenagers need particular attention from adults in this respect.
Once this is done, it is indeed true that raising the phone helps avoiding a forward head posture. However, holding the phone at eye level may also create strain in the neck and shoulders area. Hence, placing the phone on an elevated surface (e.g., shelf), inclined if possible, is surely a healthier option.
Finally, a good body awareness will help you keeping the neck aligned: make sure that your thoracic spine is not rounded, that your shoulders are not pushed forward, and that you keep your chin drawn slightly inwards. It will also help you slowing down when your body tells you it has enough...
A study published this year in the JAMA describes the evolution of the healthcare costs in the US since 1996. The results are clear: "spending on diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and low back and neck pain account for the highest amounts of spending by disease category".
A new research article investigated the link between "sitting upright" (a concept to be more clearly defined) and psychological state:
“Compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts,” Dr. Broadbent explained. "Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.”
The clinical practice indeed often shows a strong psychological impact of posture therapy. [...]
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