Forward Head Posture
If you find yourself waking up with a stiff neck, or pain and numbness in your upper spine, you may be dealing with one of the most common postural problems, F.H.P, or forward head posture.
The effects of posture on health are becoming more evident with each and every text or email made by our society. Spinal pressure, headaches, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture. The corollary of these observations is that many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated by improved posture.
The head should sit directly on the neck and shoulders; similar to the way a golf ball sits on a tee. If your head is in a forward posture, it acts more like a bowling ball than a golf ball, so the misalignment causes strain on your neck and upper back muscles. For every inch that your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, you add 10 pounds of extra force on your neck. Aside from the muscle fatigue and neck pain that people with F.H.P experience, the neck and shoulders have to carry this weight all day in an isometric contraction, this causes neck muscles to lose blood, get damaged, fatigue, strain, cause pain, burning and fibromyalgia. It is proven that when spinal tissues are subject to a significant load for a sustained period of time, they deform and undergo remodeling changes that could become permanent. This is the reason that it takes time to correct F.H.P. Forward head posture can also flatten the normal neck curve, which can result in disc compression, damage and early arthritis.
Common Causes of F.H.P
Forward head posture is a very common case in today’s generation. People look down and use their smartphone for almost everything. “According to a Tecmark study, the average person looks at a smartphone 221 times a day for a total of about three hours and 15 minutes—about once every four minutes for 16 hours straight. A chiropractor should find this to be worrying because in one year the average person will spend almost 1,200 hours—50 days—staring down at a screen”
Backpacks are another BIG cause of forward head posture; children today are now using backpacks to carry schoolbooks back and forth every day that weigh up to 30 or 40 pounds! This stress put on children’s backs and shoulders force them to position their head forward to counter balance the weight resulting in abnormal stress to the discs, joints, and nerves of the neck, shoulders and lower back.
Video games, TV, and the computer are putting major stress on our necks as well. Most kids are using poor posture when playing video games or watching TV. Repetitively sitting in one position for long periods of time causes the body to adapt to this bad posture. The combination of corporate America and the Internet has allowed F.H.P to be relevant as ever, as it is very common in people who sit in front of the computer for most of the day. The human body was not designed for extended periods of sitting, our bodies naturally adapt to the surrounding environment and as we continually have ourselves sitting in unconventional positions such as hours of sitting in the same sport, certain muscles that are responsible for good posture will weaken and tighten.
Falls and trauma can cause whiplash, which results in a muscle imbalance. This rapid change of direction inflicted on your body pulls the spine out of alignment, forcing the head forward. A whiplash injury can straighten the natural forward curve in the neck, stretching the spinal cord. Symptoms can appear months or even years later.
Solutions in Oviedo
The first step in correction is to be examined and x-rayed by one of our Synergy Oviedo Chiropractors, to identify the exact measurements of the F.H.P. Synergy Oviedo Chiropractic specializes in Forward Head Posture. Once that is established, a specific corrective care program for F.H.P is given, including adjustments and specific exercises. The Chiropractor will point out poor positions that will expose your neck to F.H.P, while giving you practical solutions.
Backpacks --- maximum backpack weight should be no more than 15% of a child’s weight. Never wear your backpack over one shoulder. You can use a waist belt, or even a chest belt to neutralize the weight on your back and neck. A new type of backpack with an air bladder has been shown to significantly reduce weight without a strap!
For office use and video game play, place your computer monitor height so the top third of the screen is even with your eyes and the screen is 18-24 inches from your face. When sitting in the same place for a elongated period of time, you should always support your lower back to combat the pressure on your neck. If children sit on the floor looking upward while playing a video game or watching TV, have them use a floor pillow armchair and sit up straight. By supporting the low back, the head and neck will move back over the shoulders.
There are a few exercises that can alleviate these pains. At the office, every 20 to 30 minutes, sit up straight and pull the neck and head back over the shoulders. Hold for a count of 3 and do 15-20 reps. alternatively, stand against a wall with a small pillow at your mid-back. Move your head back and touch the wall. Hold for a count of 3, and do 20-25 reps. At home, lay face down on the floor and extend your head and shoulders up, while pinching your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of 3, do 15-20 reps.
If you experience any of these symptoms, call us at 407-505-4320 to make an appointment today.