Your teacher knew what she was talking about when she insisted that you sit straight in class. Bad posture can easily become a habit and, worse, lead to chronic aches and pains in the neck region. It can also have some side effects you probably didn't even consider!
Posture doesn’t often get the attention it deserves. But chances are you will always notice someone with a great posture and remember someone with a bad one – be it the army guy with the ramrod back who adds two inches to his frame, the model who poses to perfection in an effortless stance, or the hunched-up young man who seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders!
Good posture is not just about how you appear on the outside though. It also means learning to consistently stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that put the least amount of strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or activities. But shouldn’t the human body naturally fall into a position of least strain and most comfort? Unfortunately, that’s not the case and we easily allow it to form habits around unsuitable postures.
The Effects of Posture
Your teacher knew what she was talking about when she insisted that you sit straight in class. Bad posture can easily become a habit and, worse, lead to chronic aches and pains in the neck region. Did you know that the weight felt by the spine increases significantly when flexing the head forward? Your head can weigh up to 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral or straight position. Tilt forward by 15 degrees and the neck and spine feel a weight of 27 pounds. Another 15 degrees takes it up to 40 pounds and it shoots to 60 pounds at 60 degrees! That head tilt is like having a 3- to 4-year-old child sitting on your neck permanently!1
A Hunch is Tiring
Sometimes we look for reasons for aches, pains, and fatigue everywhere but miss what’s right under our nose – a neck under pressure! Blood supply to the head and neck is dependent on two paired arteries – the carotid artery and spinal artery. The carotid pumps oxygen to the face, so an unsuitable position of the head can restrict this and lead to a headache, even a migraine and facial pain. The spinal artery passes through the cervical vertebrae and any undue pressure can cause concentration disorders, nervousness, and sudden fatigue.2
Sit Straight And Sing!
While you may have guessed that too much head tilting – whether it’s to type on the computer, read, or even work on something with your hands – may be the cause of your chronic neck pain, bet you didn’t know it could stop you from being the next Adele! The formation of a melodious voice requires good breathing and a bad posture while sitting or standing prevents exactly that. In a very relaxed seated position, the chest is pulled in, the pelvis tilted backward, and the head and neck drawn forward and bent slightly back. This sunken spine and chest position prevents proper deep breathing by the muscles. The resultant shallow breathing sets the voice in a lower pitch with low resonance and sometimes causes a “drowned” voice quality.3
Fix it Early
All in all, posture is something that deserves more attention. If you have a sedentary job or one that requires excessive hunching, find ways to give those muscles some relief. Take frequent breaks, look for ergonomic furniture that focuses on correct posture, and even practice desk yoga (yoga asanas for the neck and upper body that can be done while sitting) so that chronic neck pain and its repercussions are not a part of your life!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Hansraj, Kenneth K. “Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head.” Surg Technol Int 25 (2014): 277-279.|
|2, 3.||↑||Frostova, Jana. “Poor posture and its influence on the voice.” Вісник Харківського національного університету імені ВН Каразіна 862 (2009): 143-147.|