We all do it. When reading a computer screen or smartphone, our necks invariably crane forward, like giraffes reaching for a tasty treat. It’s the kind of poor posture our mothers used to scold us for.
Well, we should have listened to mom.
A recent study shows that pushing your head forward to read a computer screen is a bad idea because doing so compresses the neck. Researchers say that creates a slew of problems, including fatigue, headaches, poor concentration and muscle tension, and it might even injure vertebrae if you do it long enough.
In fact, the study, led by scientists at San Francisco State University, indicates the head-leaning-forward position diminishes our ability to rotate our heads and leads to diminished “peripheral awareness.” This can be dangerous, especially when walking.
Researchers said our back muscles can readily support the weight of the head and neck when we’re sitting nice and erect, holding the equivalent of about 12 pounds. By comparison, sticking our head out toward a computer screen at a 45-degree angle transforms your neck into a fulcrum, making the muscle weight of head and neck equivalent to 45 pounds.
That makes for some heavy lifting — and sore neck muscles.
Scientists gathered results by asking a group of students to imitate poor posture, including scrunching their necks for 30 seconds or turning their heads when imitating both good and bad posture.
Researchers encourage folks to check their posture before diving into an electronic device. Another solution: Just increase the font size on the computer screen.
Your neck will thank you for it.