The Disease Called Technology Slavery
Working for eight hours a day, five days a week and forty plus weeks a year hunched over a computer is a pain in the neck in more ways than one. The curse of technology has arrived.
Today’s work environment is supposedly ergonomically designed, but the sheer monotony of coding, telemarketing and whatnot has sapped the average employee of all life energy and automated him or her to the extent that nobody really thinks any more. Unfair criticism, you say? Well, think about the difference between life 100 years ago and life today.
A century ago, if you wanted to go out anywhere, you had to get up, get your horse out of the stable, saddle up and ride it where you wanted to go. If you were one of the lucky few with a car, you still had to crank her up and drive her like a truck.
How about travel today? Get in, put it in drive, turn on the GPS, step on the gas, handle a butter-soft steering wheel with your pinkie and you’re there in a fraction of the time it used to take.
The above scenario might be an exaggeration, for sure. In reality, we work just as hard today as our great-grandparents did a hundred years ago. The difference is in the way we work, not how much we work.
The biggest problem that technology has given us is poor posture. We are constantly hunched over something or other – our smartphones, our tablets, our laptops, our email and everything else that demands our attention every minute of our waking day.
I Have a Hunch This Ain’t Good
The hunch! That’s the root cause of shoulder and neck pain today. It’s not natural for the human upper body to be hunched over all day. If things continue the way they are, within a few centuries, babies will start to be born with natural hunches. Our entire world will become Quasimodo-esque. Not a pretty future for human beings, and perhaps not quite the truth; yet, it makes you wonder where our posture patterns will ultimately lead us.
Muscular imbalances are known to cause pain in the shoulder and neck region. Essentially, the sufferer will experience muscle spasms because the muscles in that part of the body somehow “forget” to relax and remain in a contracted state for prolonged periods. Hypertonicity is a related condition that is milder, and shows up as a kind of stiffness in the neck and upper back area.
Several other muscle groups can experience a tightness that results in a stiff sensation and may elevate to a painful condition if it continues for a time.
The opposite of over-contraction is too little contraction, resulting in weakness of the muscles in the back of the neck and shoulders. This is usually coupled with tightness in the front of the neck and in the chest, resulting in what is called the flexion posture – a pose made famous by body-builders, but not normal or natural when that’s your permanent look!
Just Call Me Computer Neck!
Computer Neck is a bad postural habit that comes with sitting in front of a monitor all day – the wrong way. Even if you have a monitor platform to elevate it to the level of your eyes, there is a tendency to get closer to the screen as it you were trying to look at something very closely. If you do this occasionally, it may not be a problem, but a lot of people become so engrossed in the work they are doing that they adopt this as their permanent posture when working at a computer.
Surprisingly, this posture is believed to be induced by gravity, among other external factors. The constant downward pull on the musculoskeletal system can lead us to take up postures that follow the line of least resistance.
This is exactly where slouching and slumping come from – an inability, a reluctance or a refusal to fight gravity and, instead, “go with the flow”, as it were. Energy-wise, this may be efficient, but it leads to more neck and shoulder pain cases than a chiropractor would care to count.
The result of all this is that the spine gradually begins to accommodate these preferred body positions and take on that shape themselves – permanently. Some would tend to disagree, but this is exactly why the elderly are stereotyped as having stooped shoulders and an inability to straighten their upper backs.
So, what can be done about the condition? Well, let’s take a look.
Fighting for Neck and Shoulder Wellness
Yes, ridding yourself of neck and shoulder pain is nothing less than a fight. A fight to the death, in fact, because, sooner or later, either you or bad posture will have to win. But there are effective weapons that you can add to your arsenal in this fight against bad posture. Here are just two of them:
Chiropractic is a little understood science that is still to reach the age of maturity in the public eye. Though effective and attested to by many – including the World Health Organization and other bodies – chiropractic science is still looked upon with suspicion and, in some cases, disdain and incredulity. The fact is, however, that many thousands of people have benefited from spinal adjustments and have gained freedom from pain. You can, too.
Remember the days when your Mom and Dad used to yell at you to “sit up straight”, “don’t slouch” and stuff? Well, that’s the easiest way to describe posture training – but without the yelling, of course. Posture training involves “unlearning” bad posture habits and replacing them with good ones. It takes time because your mind is so hooked on old ways that it resists change. In the end, it can lead to you to a healthier neck and back, with freedom from pain that results from bad posture.
There are several other methods such as muscular imbalance correction, etc. but these two techniques will effectively rid you of neck pain forever.