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Are We Becoming Tech Zombies?

People are refusing to give up their addiction to tech, despite claiming they experience back or neck pain after using their devices, research reveals.

The consumer survey by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) of more than 2,000 UK adults who currently suffer from back or neck pain, or have done so in the past, found that almost three in five (56%) people experienced pain after using some form of technological device.

Despite this, only 27% of people surveyed had limited or stopped using their devices due to concerns for their back or neck health and posture.
The research showed people were most likely to experience back or neck pain after using the following technological devices:

• Laptop computer (35%)
• Desktop computer (35%)
• Smart phone (22%)
• Tablet (20%)
• Games console (17%)

The age group most likely to experience back or neck pain when using their smart phone were 16-24 year olds, while nearly half (45%) of young adults 25-34 year olds) admitted to experiencing back or neck pain after using a laptop.

One in seven (14%) 16-24 year olds attributed their back or neck pain to virtual reality headsets.

As part of Chiropractic Awareness Week (10-16 April) the BCA is calling for technology companies to design devices with posture in mind, to help tech proof our back health.

BCA chiropractor Rishi Loatey comments: “We all know how easy it is to remain glued to our smart phone or tablet, messaging friends or scrolling through social media. However, this addiction to technology could be causing changes to posture, which can lead to increased pressure on the muscles, joints and discs in the spine.

“Technology companies are now starting to issue older phone models which hark back to a time before smart phones enabled people to do everything from check emails and take pictures, to internet banking. Returning to a time of basic functionality, which may see people look to limit the time spent on their phone, can only be good news for our backs.

“Yet, in an age where people can now track their health and wellbeing using their phone, technology companies should also start looking at ways to make their devices posture friendly from the outset, encouraging us to take time away from our desks and breaks from our scrolling, gaming and messaging.”

To help you use your technological devices without impacting your back or neck health and posture, the British Chiropractic Association provides their top tech tips to stay back pain free:

• Mind your posture: Be aware of your posture when using mobile devices on the go, don’t hunch over small screens and try to ensure you are never in the same position for a prolonged period.

• Be computer compatible: When sitting in front of your PC or laptop, sit in a chair that provides full support for your spine and make sure your shoulders, hips and knees face the same direction. Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground and knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand, book or ream of paper to bring it to the right height.

• Keep your head up: The head is a heavy weight, so sitting with it forward of your body can put unnecessary strain on your neck and back. Try to sit with your head directly over your body.

• Try before you buy: Try out new gadgets before you buy them to make sure they’re comfortable to use and spend time setting them up in a way that works well for you.

• Bag it up: If you carry a laptop use a rucksack design laptop case, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.

• Stretch it out: When using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, including on your commute, take the time to break position on a regular basis and stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around as this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed. Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 40 minutes where possible.

Stressed?

The modern world is becoming increasingly complex, and the demands on our time and attention are many. It’s often said that stress is one of the most destructive elements in people’s daily lives, but that’s only a half-truth. The way we react to stress is more important than the stress itself!

There are three types of stress that affect the body: chemical stress, physical stress and emotional stress, all of which can create nerve interference in the body.

Chemical stress includes things you ingest or inhale. Preservatives in food, medications, alcohol, smoggy air and pollen are just a few examples of chemical stressors that can irritate the nervous system.

Physical stress includes repetitive motions, improper posture (such as leaning over your computer keyboard or falling asleep in an awkward position) and traumas such as car accidents or falling. Physical stress can result in muscle tightening or loss of muscle tone, which can contribute to joint and disc problems, ultimately resulting in the nerve disturbances that cause pain and immobility.

Emotional stress is less tangible, but often the bigger problem. Emotional stress includes worrying over finances, grief, anger or frustration, that result in tension in the body, particularly in any areas that are already weakened or overworked. This tension can lead to tight muscles and irritation of the nerves.

Chronic Stress means you never completely relax. Many studies of people who have been subjected to chronic stress have found evidence of negative health effects. These effects include high blood pressure, damage to muscle tissue, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune response, and slowed healing from disease and injury. Stress reactions are also at the root of disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and stress has been linked in human and animal research with cardiovascular disease.

The Chiropractic Approach

Chiropractors work primarily with the spine, the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel from the brain to the rest of the body. One effect of chronic stress is prolonged muscle tension and contraction. This muscle tension creates uneven pressures on the bony structures of the body, often leading to misalignment of the spinal column.

Chronic stress also leads to nerve irritation. Chiropractic adjustments release muscle tension and reduce spinal nerve irritation, which helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state. These changes can, in many cases, convince the brain to turn off the fight or flight response, beginning the process of healing.

A chiropractor cannot make a job less stressful, or create a quieter, calmer world. What chiropractic treatment can do is help you develop healthy responses to stress, reducing potential physical damage.

If you or someone you know has been under a lot of stress, maybe it’s time for a chiropractic check-up?

Gardening Tips


Portrait of a smiling mature florists working in the garden

Over Spring and Summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.

One of the fundamental causes of back pain when gardening is prolonged stretching and overuse of the ligaments and joints in the spine. Digging, stooping and bending over whilst planting place considerable stress on the lower joints of the lumbar spine and can cause them to become inflamed and tender.

Here are a few tips to help prevent injury.

 
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