The American Posture Institute has recently collected data from clinics nationwide, reporting that 50% of school-aged children have presented with postural abnormalities and 67% suffer from “tech neck” posture. Tech neck is the term for the neck bent and head forward position required for an electronic device to be used below chest level. This postural pattern has become an epidemic with children and teenagers being the worst offenders. On average, children and teenagers spend 1,400 hours a year in a posture that accelerates spinal decay, causes back pain, and decreases nervous system function.
The spine is designed with an ideal alignment that protects the nervous system, which allows for optimal nervous system communication. It provides a foundation for the rest of the musculoskeletal system that remains strong against gravity’s constant force. The average human head weighs 11 pounds and this is about the weight of a bowling ball. Imagine holding a bowling ball close to your body or center of gravity. You could hold that bowling ball all day, but if you were to extend your arms and hold the bowling ball in front of your body further from your center of gravity, you would quickly fatigue and drop the ball. This is what takes place when the head is in a forward position. Stress is placed on the 20 muscles responsible for maintaining an ideal posture. Once these muscles fatigue after consistent abuse, the burden is placed upon the seven vertebrae and six discs of the neck that balance the skull. As this posture remains uncorrected, the discs begin to thin and bulge while the vertebrae display arthritic decay.
Research has shown that forward head posture is correlated to neck pain, but in children and adolescence, the symptoms are more subtle but increasingly dangerous. It takes years for the degenerative changes of tech neck posture to cause pain. While pain remains absent, the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots transmit information between the brain and body and are placed in a state of constant tension. This state of stress is known as a subluxation, and it slows down the rate of transmission. Essentially this is like doing road work on a busy five-lane highway and creating a traffic jam.
Over the past two decades, children have displayed an increased diagnosis of ADHD, asthma, ear infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and auto-immunity. In this same time frame, postural abnormalities have also grown in frequency. Our children deserve to live a life fulfilling their inner superhuman potential, and health is the essential factor in living an epic life. For children to display health, it is time to take action on correcting posture. Here are some proactive steps to take immediately:
- Schedule a postural evaluation with a corrective care chiropractor. A corrective care chiropractor will evaluate the postural system through a detailed neurological, physical, and radiographic examination. Just like children get X Rays of teeth to identify cavities at the dentist, and the corrective chiropractor will obtain X Rays to detect subluxation. You can find a corrective chiropractor in your area by clicking here: https://maxliving.com/locations/.
- Limit screen time to 30 minutes daily, and encourage physical playtime.
- Place wobble cushions in the classroom chairs to encourage spinal motion throughout the school day.
- Be an example. Children are always observing and mimicking the behavior of their parents. The most significant impact you can have on a developing human is to take charge of your health and live in congruence with the five essentials.