A study has found that children spend more than fifty three hours a week on cellphones, ipods, video games and computers – more than your average work week! As parents ourselves, we have watched as children have become more and more attached to their digital devices, even to the point of walking down the street – heads down, texting their friends. Take a look around the bus, children mostly on their mobile phones – heads down! Have a look at children (and not just children) everywhere people have their heads down much of the time texting or reading something on their phones. Since children’s spines are still growing and changing – eventually hardening at about age twenty, they are especially vulnerable for - “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree”. We are heading for a generation of people with forward head posture! The human head weighs between eight and ten pounds and represents approximately 8% of the total body mass. In a neutral (perfectly balanced) position the head feels as if it weighs nothing, however for every one inch the head moves forward away from the neutral balance posture, the head feels as if it’s weight has doubled. This is due to the effects of gravity and the stress placed on the neck muscles and cervical spine.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 2,002 people ages eight to eighteen, it showed that young people spend seven hours and thirty eight minutes using media in a typical day! That’s up six hours and nineteen minutes from the previous decade – so not only are children spending all this time with their digital friends, they are generally not active and not moving either – so there is double damage happening. The problem remains because the electronic world is here to stay, it is important, even imperative that parents realise what is happening before it is too late.
Posture influences many body functions. “Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.” As the head moves forward all measures of health status are significantly reduced. Rene Cailliet, Director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Southern California, concluded that forward head posture can add up to thirty (30) pounds of abnormal leverage on the spine, reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%, which can lead to heart and blood vascular disease. He determined a relationship between forward head posture and the digestive system as well as endorphin production affecting pain and the experience of pain.
We also need to be concerned about electromagnetic fields from all these electronic devices…and the fact that none of these activities typically involve exercise. Dr McMinn says that since he began in practice back in 1976 he has observed a changing picture in regard to childrens’ posture with many problems relating to forward head carriage - and it has happened quickly without society really being aware of it.
The old saying an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure is especially true in relation to poor posture.
The time to have your children checked by your Chiropractor is NOW!
- Dr Richard McMinn - Chiropractor Brighton
- Dr Helen Martin - Chiropractor Brighton
- Dr Glenn Fredericksen – Chiropractor Brighton