“Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and the Position of the Head.”We have all heard our instructors talking about maintaining good posture and keeping our heads up for balance and stability, but here’s one more way that dancing can benefit your life and your continuing health.
Constantly looking down can put as much as 60 Pounds of extra pressure on your spine, leading to early wear, tear and degradation. This is one of the findings in a study from spinal surgeon Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at the New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Center. People spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted over reading and texting on their smartphones and devices. Cumulatively this is 700 to 1400 hours a year of excess stresses seen about the cervical spine. Poor posture occurs when the head tilts forward and the shoulders drop forward in a rounded position. Losing the natural curve of the spine incrementally increases stresses about the cervical spine leading to degeneration and possible surgeries. Weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. When the head is not tilted, the spine already supports 10-12 pounds (the average head weight) but when it is tilted at 15 degrees, this places a 27 pound weight on the spine. Tilting your head forward 30 degrees increases the weight to 40 pounds. At 45 degrees, it is 49 pounds and at 60 degrees it goes up to a whopping 60 pounds of excess weight on the spine (about the equivalent of having 4 bowling balls hanging off your neck).
Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the “angel wings”, or shoulder blades retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished.
High-power posture posers experience elevations in testosterone, increases in serotonin, decreases in cortisol and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk taking. Low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern.
Though it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make efforts to look at their phones with a neutral spine and avoid spending hours each day hunched over. If you ask us….. take some beginner dance lessons in Edmonton.
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