While humans were basically built to outrun buffalo, these days, the closest most of us get to the animal is eating their wings. But for real, the transitioning nature of work (from manual labor to desk jobs) and the advent of handheld devices have lead to the recognition of a slew of technology-induced ailments. We’ve all heard of Carpal Tunnel and the damage that non-stop mouse clicking can do, but lately it’s been overshadowed by the frightening realities of sitting eight hours a day (it kills!) and the nagging neck pain caused by improper texting posture. Right now, solutions like treadmill desks and ergonomic chairs are hot, but how long will it be before they just suggest everyone go back to hunting and gathering?
“’This is a global epidemic,’ says Dean L. Fishman, a chiropractor who practices at the Text Neck Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He trademarked Text Neck and changed the name of his practice after noticing 90 percent of his patients coming in with the same complaint. His youngest patient is a 3-year-old, who’s in love with playing games on an electronic device” (NBC News).
“The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position — when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you’re looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds” (CNN).
“Steelcase, the big maker of office furniture, has seen a similar trend in the emerging marketplace for adjustable workstations, which allow workers to sit or stand during the day, and for workstations with a treadmill underneath for walking. (Its treadmill model was inspired by Dr. Levine, who built his own and shared his research with Steelcase)” (New York Times).
“When fully realized, we’ll essentially have smartphones baked into the frames of our glasses. Accessibility to the internet will be unparalleled and it will be able to overlay images with useful data onto the real world” (BusinessInsider).
Until we can fully integrate technology into our natural postures, how can we offset the damage of our ever-evolving social lives and work methods?