High-tech life style side-effects are significant and must be managed
By Boris Prilutsky
Since the down of times humans attempted to simplify their lives, replace cumbersome repetitive labor, speed up travel and improve communication with technical inventions like fire, bow and arrow, horse back riding, cartwheel, paper, windmills, etc. These inventions were relatively infrequent and human mind hand no difficulties adapting to them until humans approached the last quarter of twentieth century.
Nowadays an ordinary person has such technical capabilities that the best and brightest minds 150 years ago couldn’t even dream about. Never mind landing on the Moon and sending robots to Marc. The idea of instantly exchange idea or discussing business deals with someone on the other side of the Globe would seem absurd. High tech life made it possible to accomplish otherwise labor intensive and time consuming tasks like searches for important information, comparison shopping, or finding a date in a snap. It allows our mind on the regular bases to make gigantic virtual leaps in time and space and get involved in execution of several swimmingly uncorrelated tasks.
Everything in nature has its positive and negative sides and high tech life style is no different. Negative side-effects of high-tech life style are overwhelmingly significant and go far beyond burning your fingers in fire, a paper cut or falling from the horse and, unless managed, could have a devastating effect on human life. Therefore management of high tech life style side effects is not an option but an absolute must. I strongly believe that in order to successfully manage and prevent developments of illnesses related to high tech life style one must understand the process of pathological developments. Therefore in this article I will try to introduce data in a way that everyone will be able to learn to the useful practical extent.
Usually negative effects of high tech life are only associated with the carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and shoulder pain etc. It’s true that in the last 20 years cases of carpal tunnel syndrome took pandemic proportion and this significant increase of carpal tunnel occurrences is a tribute to massive repeated motion, which is the integral part of computer use.
Further in this article we will discuss steps for prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome development and other related painful symptoms. This discussion will include the role of correct human body posture for prevention of mentioned above abnormalities.
However, as far as negative effects of high tech life style are concerned, carpal tunnel syndrome is only a tip of the iceberg. The much more essential negative effects are connected with mental stress and postural disturbances, which produce a snow ball effect that are unfolding as a variety of medical problems including high blood pressure, tension headaches, toxication, sleep disorders and many others.
Modern society is suffering significantly from the negative side effects of stress. In the recent years, many statistics and surveys, including Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School, indicate that severe side effects of stress are gradually debilitating more and more people – approximately 60 to 90 % of doctor visits annually are stress related. Stress-related illnesses include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes type2, anxiety, clinical depression, sleep disorders, weight gaining due to stress eating, muscular pathology and more.
It is important to understand the mechanism of the negative side effects of stress on the human body. Imagine being confronted by a dog ready to attack you.
The human body response to such a shocking stress is the “fight or flight” phenomenon, expressed by a sharp increase in respiratory/breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure (arterial constricting) , stress hormone production increase, significant elevation in tension within neck, upper back and others skeletal muscles. The above-mentioned changes in function of organs and systems are results of over-activity of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.
In our stressful daily life routine, stress-causing factors (not only those such as in the dog attack example, but also small things like the news headlines of tragedies and disasters) little by little increasingly intrude on our health, resulting in millions of Americans suffering from the stress related diseases.
It is important to realize that although aforementioned surveys paint an overall gruesome picture, they fail to register the detrimental contribution of high tech life style to the stress levels and damages to human health.
There are certainly many sources of stress that lay outside the high tech virtual world: financial problem, relationship, wars, terrorism, natural disasters. But the stress generating factors outside of high tech is only the fraction of the overall stress picture. High tech life style and generated by its virtual world, makes deeper and deeper imprint in our daily life. Its contribution is a combination of mental stress related factors and physical factors; both of which are challenging and jeopardizing human health.
The mental component of stress accumulates from the huge amount of information that human mind is bombarded and has to deal with on daily bases. Emotional stress of online communication changes parameters of regular communication. It engages us in performing concurrently multiple tasks, exposes us to huge amounts of information available through the
Internet, thus leaving our brain unprotected to the effects this informational attack, including subconscious mind where effects are completely unpredictable. Brain cannot process normally this ocean of information and is forces to exist in the constant over excitement. Yet millions of people who live high-tech life style are experiencing and trying to sustain unsuccessfully a double portion of stress as well as physical overloads.
The above example with the dog was only brought about as an illustration of the human body reaction to a shocking stress. It’s important to note that although the origin of informational stress is different, the human body response to it is identical. Tremendous amounts of information subject human body and mind to constant stress and therefore, in my opinion, are much more damaging in long term than even occasional effects of shocking stress.
Stress and skeleton muscular system.
Most of us carry stress in the neck and upper back areas. These over tense muscles with time produce muscular pain, compress cervical spinal/ peripheral nerves as well as vertebral arteries that supply blood to posterior part of brain. Described phenomenon produces tension headache, high blood pressure, etc. Additionally to stress related muscular tensions, postural problems in front of computer aggravate all mention above conditions as well as producing other side effects. Muscular static loads when sitting in front of a computer is a double contributor to accumulation of stress related to raised muscle tone in upper back and neck.
The role of the correct posture in prevention of side effects related to muscular abnormalities. One of the neck muscles called anterior scalene muscles. These muscles play an important role in lifting the ribcage in the time of inhalation. When a person has the proper posture this job is distributed between several muscles. But most of us sit in front of the computer in the wrong way slouching shoulders down. In this case the anterior scalene muscle has to carry all the extra load of lifting the ribcage resulting in overload – strain.
Under anterior scalene muscles there passes brachial plexus, which is conversion of cervical spinal nerves.
The moment when brachial plexus are irritated by over tensed (shortened) anterior scalene muscles, all muscles of upper extremities including wrist and fingers flexors start gradually accumulate tension.
The combination of already increased tension within wrists and fingers flexors with excessive repeated motion is a real cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome development. Excessive compression of subclavian artery and subclavian vein also promotes the development of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. As a matter of fact, many people suffer from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome not relating it to high-tech lifestyle.
Also, over tensed scalene muscles can compress vertebral arteries that originate from subclavian artery, which will cause obstruction of blood supply to the posterior brain. Our brain requires a supply of 2000 cubic centimeters of blood every 24 hours. If this supply is compromised, as an act of defense, body will raise blood pressure and under raised pressure will push the needed amount of blood to brain. The wrong posture also overloads masticator muscles causing dysfunction of TMJ and headaches.
Another profound negative affect of high-tech life is toxication. Lymphatic system is only the one system in our body that is responsible for removal of metabolic waste and toxins. The amount of lymphatic fluids that will be drained into the blood circulatory system is equal to detoxification. When we inhale the degree of constriction in diaphragm muscles, is equal to negativity of intrapleural pressure. The negative pressure opens thoracic duct for drainage of these toxins. Therefore, the lower there will be the intrapleural pressure the larger amount of fluid will be drained. The more diaphragms will be at work the more liquid it will process improving detoxification.
When you sit with shoulder slouched, you significantly disengage diaphragm muscles and put double load on scalene muscles. When diaphragm muscles are disengaged thus the intrapleural pressure will not be significant enough for adequate drainage and detoxification.
So as a result the improper posture causes overworks in scalene muscle, compression of brachial plexus and subclavian artery and slows down detoxification, thus contributing to accumulation of toxins in the body.
The symptoms of this constant poisoning are fatigue, muscular pains and all other symptoms specific to clinical depression, which is not depression but poisoning. So for hours that people sit in front of a computer in wrong posture they contribute significantly to accumulation of toxins in the body.
Finally the terrible consequences of high tech stress manifest themselves as variety of sleep disorders. The mental stress and physical factors disturb quality of sleep in unforeseen and unpredictable way. People could still sleep for seven to eight hours, but the quality of sleep is what determines its recuperative power and its benefits to our health. Poor quality of sleep affects billions of people. The chain affect that poor quality of sleep produces is chronic inflammation in the entire body, which fuels aging process. People can work out and eat right, but look at the generation of people who are 45-55. Even if they will try to looking young outside, you can see their age in their eyes.
To summarize, you can see that high tech brings totally new parameters to the clinical picture of negative effects of stress and initiates vicious cycle that cause harms to human health on the global scale.
I titled my article ”High-tech life style side-effects are significant and must be managed.” So far I described significance of side effects and now it’s the time to talk about their management.
It is clinically and scientifically proven that massage therapy is the most powerful methodology in restoration of normal muscular tone, as well as cause of vascular dilation, decrease of stress hormone production etc. In other words methods employed by Medical Massage acts as direct reversal of processes that cause carpal tunnel syndrome, tension headaches, TOS is a chain reaction secondary to the muscular strain accumulation due to stress and physical static overload. Only since accumulation of stress is a constant process, something that we cannot get away from, we must to manage it constantly as well. This means that in order to manage affects of high tech life we must have full body stress management massage at least twice a week. (Brian here there’ll be the links to the clips where I tech samples of self-massage techniques).
Of course, I’m aware that not many of us have time and money for, at least, twice a week treatments by a professional therapist. Therefore I have produced 7 volumes DVD set, which is in my opinion is the next best thing in management of high tech life style. This DVD set covers self massage, ice and hot stone application, trigger point therapy, special post isometric stretching techniques as well as exercise program that are instrumental in breaking the vicious cycle of muscular tension accumulation. Thus the techniques offered in these DVDs are actually producing the main preventive action because, as you understand, graduate accumulation of tension over a period of time facilitates development of significant disease.