I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that people fear public speaking more than they do death. This is not the case for me; in fact, I’m kind of an odd ball in that I really enjoy public speaking. I jump at the opportunity to share valuable health related information with groups and organizations — information that I feel may benefit all of us. Topics that I’ve presented have ranged from “Eat Fat Lose Fat”, “Bullet Proofing Your Body”, “Sugar… America’s Addiction”, to “What Exercises are best for Beauty and Appearance.”
I recently had the privilege to speak at Google of Ann Arbor. Now I know what you’re thinking. Dr. Andrew you probably wanted to speak at Google just so you could play with the slide in the lobby just like in the movie “The Internship”. Which is a very funny movie by the way. Despite what you may have seen in the movie they don’t have a slide. I would know, I checked.
The topic of my presentation was one that I felt everyone may benefit from; The Underlying Cause of Tech Neck. Technology is constantly evolving and changing to the point where we are always connected. We use computers, tablets and phones on a daily basis, so much so that we hold a structural position where the head and neck are stretched forward. The problem is that most people actually hold this position when they’re not using technology. This forward positioning aka “Tech neck” is a forward positioning of the head and neck in relation to the shoulders. This is actually known as Anterior Head Syndrome. When the head and neck shift forward during Anterior Head Syndrome the underlying structure has shifted. This shift in the spinal structure is no different than the foundation of your house shifting on one side or your car being forced out of alignment. Since the underlying structure has shifted regardless of the reasons, this applies abnormal pressure, stress and tension on the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, discs and nerves.
If your car were forced out of alignment you might notice abnormal wear on the tires, the car pulling to one side, or a cockeyed steering wheel. If this problem persists it could lead to other problems with the vehicle, like worn out brakes, rotors and wheel hubs. All of these problems are a secondary result to an underlying alignment issue. If your spinal structure is out of alignment just like your car it will lead to a number of different secondary conditions or symptoms like headaches (migraines), neck pain, mid back pain, low back pain, numbness/ tingling into the extremities, and muscle tension and spasms.
Anterior Head Syndrome and Your Structure
The best way to demonstrate how Anterior Head Syndrome affects underlying structure is to use a bowling ball. That’s right a bowling ball. The human head weights between 9-11 pounds, I had a volunteer by the name of Steve hold the bowling ball close to his chest, this demonstrated normal structural alignment. This is when the head is directly over the shoulders and upper body. This is also our true center of gravity where are head and neck are suppose to be. Then I had Steve hold the bowling ball out in front of him at arms length, noting the difficulty. This increase in difficulty was due to the forward positioning of the bowling ball (head and neck). The center of gravity shifted forward so he had to work harder to hold the bowling ball up right. He struggled using his arms and shoulders.
If you think of Steve’s arms and shoulders as the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves and discs of the neck and the bowling ball as the head. You can understand how holding the ball out in front would apply a large amount of pressure and tension on these structures. If you add time into the mix in the range of years or even decades you can easily see how degeneration and arthritic problems may arise from this increased amount of stress and tension on the spine. Its easy to see how Tech Neck, which is actually called Anterior Head Syndrome may contribute to many secondary conditions.
After the presentation I answered a few questions about Anterior Head Syndrome and my practice. The Google folks were nice enough to let me hang around the office after the presentation for snacks and conversation. I had the chance to tour and walk through the office and as a way of saying thank you for hosting me; I left them with goodie bags, which included a T-shirt, gift certificate and copy of our Pivotal Press. I hope the staff at Google enjoyed the presentation as much as I enjoyed giving it and took home some valuable information. Thank You Google Ann Arbor!!!