Let’s talk about “tech neck” – a commonly used term to describe this newly normalized forward-head posture we humans have grown accustomed to operating from. When we’re leaning forward to look at our computer screens, for example, or even worse, looking forward and down to look at our phones while in transit, the musculature around our neck and shoulder have to adapt.
Muscles of the cervical spine (think top of the back of our neck) start to rest in a more lengthened state, which weakens them. And because we know nothing works in isolation, it’s not just the neck muscles that are affected. For example, the muscles that work to retract your shoulder blades (think: keep you upright in a tall, proud posture) grow weak when we spend more time hunched forward.
Other muscles, like the pectoralis minor in the chest and portions of the levator scapulae, along the side and back of the neck, become chronically shortened and tight.
We can continue to point to additional effects from “tech neck” throughout the kinetic chain, but all that is to say that is to say this: a habit we perform in daily life without even paying attention affects the way we are able to execute (or not able to execute) movements when we really want to.
Chronically tight shoulders prevent us from efficiently pressing weight overhead, for example. And perhaps even more fascinating, our head posture and the tightness of our jaw affects our breath and ability to generate inter-abdominal pressure. (Click the link above to get more detail from Dr. Sarah Duvall about the relationship between the jaw, diaphragm, and pelvic floor if you want to go deeper!)
PHEW. That’s a lot to take in. Now what can you do about all these compensations? The answer is easy, and also very hard.
Have more time to mobilize? Try this video.
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