We love technologies (and I love my games)
As an avid gamer myself, I have enjoyed with my friends the exhilarating experience of running through hordes of zombies; sailing through the oceans of the unknown; being an evil creator while building a powerful civilization, and from time to time, eat that mushroom while jumping for coins.
The days of immersing myself in the world of online games and communities were great. During that period of virtual world explorations where I would disregard my health, all that I cared about was how to increase my ranks and how to participate in the community forums to become one of those `forum gurus` people looked up to. Proper diets, routine exercises, regular breaks were some of the words that did not exist in my dictionary.
Alas, reality had sunk in one day when I realized that I have gotten a syndrome from hours and days of using my computer without proper rests and poor postures. You know, that syndrome which you hate so much but it just would not go away.
Yes, I have gotten what I would like to call: Technological Posture Syndrome (a made-up term :D).
Remember the uncomfortable feeling of utter dread that crawls along your shoulder, neck and head while sitting in your bedroom or office? That tightness which feels like a python is wrapping itself along your muscle fibres?
And it does not only have to be from playing video games. As mobile technologies have matured and we have tied in our lifestyle with smart phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, we have begun to neglect something that is very important - proper sitting postures.
No pain, no gain they say but this is one pain you do not want to have...
We have heard from many professionals, such as doctors and chiropractors, that excessive usage of electronic devices on a daily basis might result in pinched nerves, pulled muscles, inflammatory muscles, or even carpal tunnel if you are not careful enough. Let's face it - how many times have you lowered your head and used your phone while waiting at the bus stop or at a restaurant?
Throughout the next several years, I have constant neck pain and incredible tensions around my shoulders and my neck. I have searched online for remedies and tips on how to loosen that tightness, that pain, around my neck and shoulders. But rather than risk injuring myself further, I have decided to focus on two long term goals: Maintaining a proper sitting posture and taking regular breaks.
Modern work environment and social networking
Modern technologies bring us convenience but they also tie us to our work. We are married to our jobs. Some of us are more committed to our work than to our family because income pays the bills. We can do our jobs faster with the help of technologies, we can try to find some time to play games through technologies, and we can connect to our friends and family through technologies. However, our lifestyle gradually becomes a limited sphere of solitude where social interactions are not real.
A virtual text sent through a smart phone is vastly different than calling or meeting up with friends. Convenience is the key but simplifying ways to network each other has forced us to be tied to our mobile devices regardless if it is for business or for pleasure.
This brings us back to aches along our neck and shoulders. We are so entrenched in letting the convenience of technologies to be part of our lifestyle that we are slowly hurting ourselves. Never mind the psychological aspect of the negativity (that is another topic for another day :D), just physical aspect of our body is enough to bring endless discomforts in our life. In the worst case scenario, even our fingers become so inflamed from excessive tapping on the touch pads that daily routines get affected.
Remember the good old days where you can turn your neck without any discomforts? Remember how you can remain in one posture for a long time without feeling your neck is encased in cement or having that urge to tilt your neck to pop that muscle for temporary relief?
Old habits are hard to break...but there are some tips available
I will admit that I still sit slouched whenever I work or whenever I play video games on my PC or consoles. Since the day I realized that I have injured my neck through improper sitting postures, I have tried my best to sit up straight while not putting additional strains on my back.
Now, I am not the expert here and this is purely just my insight, but there are some possible ways to help alleviate some of the neck pains and shoulder tensions:
Depending on what you use the chair for, you may want to think about investing in a good arm chair to rest your arms while sitting up properly. There have been talks about bean bags being used to fix postures and comments from the communities have been a mixed results. At the same time, there has not been much info and research done medically toward the health benefits of using bean bags (at least I cannot find much data on that for now). So, I believe investing in a good chair will be important.
It may have looked like a cervical neck brace that emergency response units use to stabilize your neck after an accident, but it works. I have personally tried it myself and can definitely feel my neck is properly supported without exerting any muscle strength that may further put unwanted tension on my shoulder and neck muscles. This will allow you to have a brief moment of relaxation while allowing your muscles to rest and heal.
This is only recommended after you have talked to a physician where proper and professional diagnose can be given. Improper exercises of your neck may injure yourself further and I do not recommend you do any of the exercises that you have seen online without due caution. For more information you can read here.
But...you are typing away here on the blog?
I am not saying we should give up our mobile devices and the good things that technologies have brought us. I am saying that there should be a balance in our lifestyle to ensure that our body and mind are properly taken care of. After all, a painless body will bring a calming relief in a stressful day. :)