Over the years there’s been a rise in desk work-related jobs along with more time spent on cell phones and other mobile devices. Sitting for long periods at a time or frequently looking down at our cell phones can lead to issues in the shoulder, neck, and back as time goes on. One example of this is Tech Neck, which I’m sure you’ve heard of! Most often these issues arise from repetitive postures and positions we develop over months to years rather than something that may have happened yesterday or two days ago.
We truly do live in a flexion dominant society. The more we sit or look down, the more we start to compromise our posture. Things like slouching, rounding of the back and shoulders, and jutting of the head forward start to occur, especially towards the end of a long day. Over time this can lead to pain or discomfort.
The thoracic spine is meant to be mobile. Its job is to be able to bend forward, backward, side to side, and rotate left and right. If we are constantly flexed forward in a slouched position, the thoracic spine will begin to lose its ability to extend backward. The slouching also causes the shoulders to round forward creating less space for the shoulder to move.
The shoulder responds one of two ways. It either becomes hypermobile to make up for the lack of mobility in the thoracic spine or it too will lose some of its mobility and there will be less range of motion. In both cases risk of injury increases.
Check out the video for some simple thoracic mobility exercises to help keep your shoulder safe and free of injury!
-Ryan Donahue, DC