Hold Your Head Up

‘Hold your head up (High)’ was the title of a great disco anthem of my long-ago youth, which, given the speed with which popular culture now recycles itself, has probably come back about 17 times, and may even now be in the charts. Be that as it may, whatever it might do for what Ed calls ‘wasted, flaming youth’, it has a message for the over 50s. I’ve had an increasing amount of grief for a couple of weeks from the area round my Atlas bone — i.e. the bone in your spine which hinges neck-bones to thoracic vertebrae. Having given this some concentrated thought (& having checked with her, the good Dr Wu concurs with me), I have come to the conclusion that I have developed a gradual and insidious response to the over-50s notorious inability to read close print. Much of my day is spent at the computer, with various books from which I check facts or whatever open to its left. They tend to have footnotes, which are small. I do have reading glasses, but don’t care for viewing the computer screen through them … thus, though I have long taken careful and conscientious thought about posture while typing, due to the irration of taking glasses on and off, presbyopia has gradually seduced me into developing a habit of poking my head forward like a tortoise, and since the human head is really quite heavy, creating a tremendous amount of stress on the base of the neck. I’m engaged on a firm programme of retraining. Hold your head up (High) is absolutely the way to go. On another topic, Miss Best Friend went to the vet today, and seems to be fine, within an old dog definition of fine. We have some more pills to counteract the irritation caused by her thyroid medicine. Oh, the wonderful world of side-effects, & more pills to counter the first lot … But she seems perfectly happy in herself.

5 Responses to “Hold Your Head Up”

  1. canadian professor Says:

    You might think of acquiring a firm roll from the sort of company that does health aids. I discovered this at the gym via my very bright trainer. The roll is about 6″ thick. Lie on it so that your head is supported. The end will come just about at the end of the spinal column. Relaxes muscles too. Besure to pull your shoulder blades together and to keep your ribs high. A few minutes at a time.

  2. Will Says:

    That’s great news. (about the dog I mean, not the neck thing - I’m sure I have a pronounced bend in my neck from slumping rather than walking around like an arrogant dilletante. Even when driving I shove a jumper behind the small of my back to promote good posture..

  3. Jane Says:

    The thing is, if you hope to become an old crock, or still better, croc, you have to start thinking about your neck and your back. Elegant lounging is fine when you’re in your twenties, but being habitually off balance in a purely physical sense just breeds problems as the years flit by. Different temptations fit different heights — the tall, like you, often tend to the Bend Diffident or Deferential Droop (no, I’m not towering over you, honest) and achieve one set of problems, the short, like me, develop strategies for trying not to look as if you’re looking up at people which can cause a whole lot of other grief. My solution, the most rational from a purely physiological pov, is to stand a bit further away & project your voice effectively, which has other incidental advantages — if your stock in trade doesn’t involve charming people.

  4. canadian professor Says:

    Left out a critical word: foam - for roller. Quite right re the Atlas bone, but rememer that C1 is also, in a riff on the spiritual, connected to the C2 and so on toe the C7 and below. Hence the usefulness of alignment of the spine - and the cobra pose in yoga. p

  5. Jane Says:

    You’re of course right about connectedness, but I’m certainly finding that a rigorous attention to upright posture (which is good for your spine anyway) is returning my Atlas bone to a mere bit of anatomy rather than an insistent problem.

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