Technologic Solutions for Poor Posture
Amidst being in the technological revolution, people are increasingly adapting to a lifestyle reliant on ever-changing technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought rise to an increased dependency on online communication. Despite the efficiency and advancement of online communication, this comes with some negative effects of technology. As we exceed the limits of screen time, our bodies may exhibit a variety of issues. The ergonomics of your workspace and overall increased usage of devices influence bad posture, slouching, and possible hunchback with the progression of age. This can lead to long-term repercussions inclusive of spinal disc narrowing, degeneration, chronic muscle strain, and chronic neck and back pain. Therefore there is certainly a case for addressing the issue of a poor posture early before it becomes a chronic problem.
How can your posture impact your health?
Body posture reflects one’s physical and mental health. An individual's posture can be representative of their health through observations that can reveal disabilities, pain, and low quality of life. Posture controls the body's position by ensuring balance and proper orientation. As a standard, the neutral posture for someone would be when their head and upper trunk of the body are directly aligned to the spine. Deviations in the standard posture are correlated to poor posture, or misalignment of the spine which can lead to nerve compression along with accelerated intervertebral disc degeneration. Recent studies of the epidemic of “text neck” demonstrates the severity of spinal health resulting from poor posture. Other health concerns such as fatigue, poor circulation, jaw pain, breathing efficacy, headaches, and sexual function are linked to poor posture. Therefore, posture is an important component of one’s health and this supports the need for science to find a resolution to this.
How can you treat bad posture?
Luckily, many methods are available to assist with maintaining a neutral posture. People have access to purchasing a brace to wear on their bodies which would enable them to maintain a proper posture throughout their day. There are more advanced devices used to help with poor posture that often synchronize with smart devices for users needing more analytic data driven options. Specifically, these small wearable devices are stuck on the back between the shoulders and monitor posture through a built-in program in the device. The device applies vibration to the body when it detects deviations in the individual's posture while giving the individual control of the settings. There are many products available commercially such as UpRight or LumoBack, however, they are quite expensive currently. While these products are accessible to the public and promising, the pricing can be a deterrent for many patients. As the technologies improve and more options come to market, these medical devices will likely become more widely adopted.
Furthermore, studies and medical experts have researched the effectiveness of these products and have attained varying results. Doctors have approved the usage of braces for a few hours a day to help with conditions caused by poor posture or minor scoliosis. Prolonged reliance and use of a brace can weaken the muscles that normally support your posture. The effectiveness of all posture correction products are variable as subjects wear them in accordance to their comfortability, yet all claim that it was a matter of “correcting their habits.” Studies confirm that improvements have been demonstrated from the usage of posture corrective devices, like UprightGo 2, and they are capable of assessing good accuracy on spinal posture in a clinical setting. This aligns with short term benefits, but on the other hand, this can not validate the effectiveness for long term use. The duration of the research would need to be extended to validate the effectiveness of the products in the long run.
What can you do to improve your posture now?
In the meantime, medical experts would primarily offer solutions such as yoga and implementing changes to work settings to improve posture and prevent long term health concerns. There are no other costs attached to these recommendations and the improvements are dependent on the behavior of the subject. In addition, doctors recommend applying the initiative to promote frequent movement, for instance, setting a timer to remind you to change position every hour. Also, when working on devices such as computers, laptops, or tablets elevating them to eye level prompts better posture. In sum, it is a matter of creating a posture friendly environment and being attentive to your own body.
It seems that posture corrective technologies are an option to improve one’s posture. However, healthy posture-friendly habits will also continue to play an important role in preventative health especially as society continues to work more from home.
Author: Samira Chowdhury
Editor: Ospina Medical Team