@vdm, Interesting to see bone growth at the back of young folks skulls. I know bone growth peaks in adulthood and declines with age. It is also well known that bone growth is partially stimulated by putting weights on them (Muscle training for bone strength - PubMed). What is interesting in this case is that phone use is implicated as the cause via forward tilting of the head which changes weight dynamics from the muscles along the spine to back of the head stimulating bone growth. This is indeed interesting who knew that phone/tablets use can cause such a bone growth.
That’s really interesting, thanks for posting this!
Thank you for the links, vdm. I had heard about this effect of modern tech some months ago but didn’t look into where the information came from. It is concerning but as you’ve found for yourself, being diligent to counter the effects of forward head position or military neck does pay off & the effect of the extra bony growths at the back of the skull can be prevented. It’s almost like ES but on the back side of the mastoid process.
So I went a little further into this…
It feels that the hyoid bone is pulled down by sternohyoid and omohyoid muscles, among others. From the top, it is attached to the styloid processes by stylohyoid muscles (among others) and the movement is limited by stylohyoid ligaments.
When the neck is in extension, the downforce on the hyoid bone, I assume, is higher and that means more force on “small” muscles supporting the hyoid bone from above.
Could that be the reason the stylohyoid muscle and stylohyoid ligament are overloaded and to cope with that, the body deposits calcium into the weak points? In my non-medical opinion, very likely, as the body tends to strenghten weak ligaments and tendons by adding calcium (often the case in shoulders).
I guess sitting at the computer with the neck in extended position for prolonged hours might be one of the reasons… That fits the picture - the neck becomes stiff to support the weight of the head, cervical spine loses lordosis, the tension between the styloid processes and clavicles/ribs (via sternohyoid/omohyoid muscles and other lines) becomes chronic, and the weak points (stylohyoid muscles/ligaments) start atrophying. Body strenghtens them by adding calcium deposits along the weak lines.
Add: all this perhaps makes the styloid processes look elongated, even though biologically it’s some type of calcium deposit at the point where stylohyoid muscle/ligament is connected to the styloid process, not a real bone.
Interesting thoughts. The only thing I would dispute is that when we look down, our necks are in flexion. It’s when we look up that they are in extension thus it almost seems as though those bony growths on the back of the mastoid are to help counter-balance the forward head position. What do you think?
@Isaiah_40_31 well my post above is about the styloid process calcifications…
The neck is, in my opinion, extremely stretched forward.
Got it. I tend to look down at my computer & am not in that extended position (or at least don’t perceive I am…maybe I need someone to take a profile pic of me when I’m using my computer so I can see the reality!)
Well, I’m talking more about people who spend let’s say 6-12 hours or so every day, with very little motion, very few breaks etc, i.e. computer nerds or so. Occasionally we all do some neck extensions…
I did six years before I had a major career change in the tech industry. I can tell you that looking down at a laptop for hours a day certainly encouraged my symptoms to increase.
It may not be the cause but it certainly brings on the birds.
I can relate to this. This is me for 20+ years. Good One
Time to reverse the posture, eh, KoolDude! From the work @vdm has done for himself & w/ the results he’s getting, a turnaround is possible.
With the introduction of computers should have come instruction on proper posture when using a computer. Based on our discussions here, I think we could write a manual for that w/ the pros of good posture & the cons for not maintaining it!
Even w/ that, we are a lazy lot, We get mentally involved with what we’re doing on the computer & let our bodies slump into whatever relaxed position they go when we aren’t vigilant. We’re now seeing there’s a cost for that but thankfully our bodies are “adjustable”, & we can often restore what was lost though it takes patience & time.
@Isaiah_40_31 I agree it is time to reverse it. Too bad we only realize this when the damage presents itself as bone compression on vital vessels or nerves such as ES. As VDM has shown time and time again, weight dynamic shifts to the neck area can induce bone growth specially the ones that act as an anchor to many muscles and ligaments such as the Styloid process, Hyoid Bone…etc. It is indeed a complex interplay of upper cervical posture and shifts of weight dynamic what VDM calls military Neck.
Me too I think about 10 years ago I lost ability to completely relax my shoulders, something that now I am re-learning.
But oh boy, tinnitus is screaming terribly, and I’m not that sure about reversing it…
I remember, in the past I would have tinnitus in the evening, then it would quickly go away just before falling asleep, with a small coke-can-opening “pshhh” feeling. I guess that would be some blood vessel regaining the flow…
Replying to my own thread…
Another thing I noticed that is “screwing up” my postural perception is… the backpack. Constantly walking with a backpack with the laptop and a few other things, which makes it weight about 5kg, eventually makes my body think that the natural posture is… with backpack. Slightly leaning forward to compensate the weight. Walking without a backpack still feels a bit unnatural to me, but getting better at this…
I have always been curious about where exactly C1 and C2 nerve roots leave, as C1 and C2 vertebrae are different beasts.
Here were are:
Assuming the tool shows it correctly, it seems there is a very small (?) chance to slightly compress the C1 roots by overextending the neck, and C2 might be slightly compressed by rotating the head too much around the atlanto-axial joint (e.g.when the neck is stiff and rotation mostly happens around the atlantoaxial joint instead of the whole neck).
C1 nerve mostly responsible for neck muscles, motor function
C2 - some neck movements and some trapezius sensation
So… overextending the neck and rotating the head “up” like in the pictures with people sitting at the computers leads to C1 nerve irritation and stiff neck/pain in the neck, which leads to more rotation on atlantoaxial region and possible C2 irritation?.. A possibility.
It feels that as soon as the head goes out of balance (whiplash, posture, physical exercise, disc degeneration etc.), we possibly open some kind of Pandora box…
Good thoughts & amazing images as always, vdm. Interesting idea about the backpack. I don’t carry a purse but use a small backpack to haul my “necessary” items w/ me wherever I go. It’s a bit different than a laptop backpack because it’s smaller. What I’ve found is that I get shoulder tension/pain when I wear a backpack for too long. Now I try to remember to keep my scapulae “in the back pockets of my jeans” i.e. depressed as opposed to elevated. I also think of my vertebrae as having a little balloon between each one, & it’s my goal not to let those little balloons get squished by my vertebrae as I go through my day. This helps me keep my spine elongated & somewhat prevents me from letting it sink into my pelvis as I walk/stand. This has helped a lot in reducing low back pain & shoulder pain due to tension there.
Yes, I do that with a back pack too, it’s not even that heavy…I try to be conscious of it & change posture but fail miserably!
@Jules @Isaiah_40_31 with those depressed scapulae while walking… I might sound like a grumpy youngster, but it’s not perfect to keep scapulae physically depressed for too long. The reason: depressing the scapulae requires to activate muscles that aren’t supposed to be “postural” but more “power” muscles, latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius, various serratus muscles etc. That might leave them spasmed → keep scapulae permanently depressed → put tension on upper trapezius and levator scapula → put pressure on neck and clavicles (clavicles connected to scapulae via AC joint) → lead to thoracic outlet, snapping scapulae, stiff neck symptoms etc.
Not that simple
The general rule, in my opinion, is to stay relaxed and use postural muscles for posture and power muscles for power tasks. Small backpacks ideally should have soft, wide, comfortable straps to cover wide area of upper trapezius/shoulder area and just “hang” there without any muscle tension.
By the way, I found a good (in my opinion) webcast about posture (one hour, but worth watching):
Thanks for that!