…Jack fell down and broke his crown….
So what about our “crown”? Do we actually work it out? Well, no, but in Pilates, we are very concerned with the placement of our head and the strength of the vertebrae that lead up to it. How many hours a day do YOU spend hunched over reading texts and emails? I know I can spend several hours some days.
We joke about having texting thumb problems or trigger finger issues from using a mouse, but an actual serious condition these days is text neck syndrome which is caused by looking down at a screen. When the head is brought forward and the neck bends, the weight on the cervical spine increases. Just a 15 degree forward angle adds 27 pounds to the spine! Over time, adopting this posture, we places stress on the back of the neck leading to premature wear and tear. We can joke about how “text neck” sounds like a silly ailment, but the effects of having it are not silly. It causes headaches, spasms down the arms and back, and even spinal disc compression. Not to mention that it isn’t attractive! In this society, we are going to use our phones, tablets, and computers, so we can’t eliminate the problem completely, but we CAN do all we can to keep our cervical spine healthy.
It reminds me a little of being frozen in a “walk like an Egyptian” move. When we look at ourselves head-on, we might not notice how far forward our head sticks out in front of our shoulders. Ask your Pilates instructor to look at your posture the next time you go in and come up with a plan to correct damage that is done by screen use.
In the meantime, try holding a neutral spine by keeping your shoulders relaxed and your ears in line with your shoulders. I do this while I’m driving. It’s a great time to stay alert and hold my head in proper alignment. Also, remember to take breaks when you participate in screen time. Slowly rotate your head back and forth, and up and down; Drop tension from your shoulders. When you get to the Pilates studio, all the exercises that work your scapula, especially the long box arm series will help pull those shoulders back along with your cervical spine and your “crown” will be right where it belongs!