King Chiropractic

The Dangers of Forward Head Posture

In the age of computers, smartphones, and tablets, we seem to be having an epidemic of forward head posture. Ideally, the cervical spine (neck), should have a slight curve to it, allowing the ear to be directly over the shoulder. Unfortunately, many activities lend themselves to a slouched posture with the head jutting out in front, such as working at a computer, driving, or sitting on the couch watching TV. Why is this important? When the head is held in front of the body instead of directy over the shoulders, physics dictates that it will effectively seem “heavier” due to increased leverage. It is like trying to hold a bowling ball out in front of you all day- your arm would tire very quickly! When you have forward head posture, the muscles of the neck and shoulders have to work overtime just to keep your head up. This often leads to trigger points (knots) in the muscles and restriction in the vertebral joints, which then cause neck pain and headaches. This slouched posture also puts the shoulders in a less-than-ideal position and can lead to shoulder tendinitis and thoracic outlet syndrome (numbness and tingling in the arms/hands). In addition, a forward head posture can make it difficult to take a deep breath. Don’t believe me? Try taking a deep breath while slouching. Now try sitting up straight and taking a deep breath. Easier, right?

A chiropractor can loosen up the joints that have become restricted and rid you of trigger points, allowing you to more easily assume a correct posture, but we cannot make you keep that posture all day. True postural correction requires the cooperation of the patient. This means altering your work station so that the computer monitor is directly at eye level, using a lumbar pillow at work and in the car to keep you from slouching, and doing your exercises daily! Posture is a habit, and it takes practice. I found a good exercise for forward head posture on YouTube:

Now that I’ve been sitting here typing for the past 30 minutes and my neck is starting to get tired, I think I’ll go do some “chicken-head exercises” myself…

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