Health professionals in Canada have seen an increase in headaches, pains in the neck, back and face which they say is linked to poor posture.
The Canadian Chiropractic Association and Halifax physiotherapist Janice Moreside suggest that each year, over 11 million Canadians suffer from at least one musculoskeletal condition, many linked to the use of technology. Low back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions account for one-third of missed work time in Canada — second only to the common cold.
Every inch your head moves forward is an extra 10 pounds your neck holds up. Do that for much of the day and the results can be excruciating and costly.
When you stare down at a screen, the head is taken off the vertical and bent forward up to 45 degrees.
Theresa Blackburn, 47, is a writer and a teacher in New Brunswick. She’s seeing a massage therapist for back pain.
"She said, 'You know, you have a hump,’" Blackburn said. "She said it's related to poor posture and we had a conversation about how I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, and you're kind of hunched down."
Moreside of Dalhousie University in Halifax has been a physiotherapist for more than 35 years. In her career, Moreside has seen many campus students with low back and neck pain or arm dysfunction because of sitting and leaning forward on computers.
Sitting with the shoulders forward can lead to tightness and pulling at the opposing muscles in the back, Moreside said. The arteries, veins and nerves that run to the arms and hands can also be compressed, which increases the likelihood of tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
To counteract poor posture, Moreside recommends standing straight, and stretching and strengthening muscles.