Don’t think it doesn’t happen. You’re staring at the computer screen, sitting at a stop light, watching TV. Then next thing you know, your head is jutting forward, kinda like a chicken pecking for its next grain pellet.
Here’s a succinct yet informative bullet list from The PT Project as to why this goofy looking posture can cause you a real headache, among other problems:
6 facts about Forward Head Posture
1. The effects of long term forward head and neck postures are long-term . . . and may result in muscle strain, disc herniation, nerve impingement, and the early onset of arthritis.
2. Forward head posture is strongly linked to decreased respiratory muscle strength and breathing ability, reesulting in up to a 30% loss in vital capacity in the lungs as well as a significant increase in cardiac and vascular pressure.
3. For every inch of forward head posture, it is found to increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. On average, this is over a 100% increase of weight bearing stress on the spine and it’s associated neuromuscular structures.
4. A Loss of the cervical spinal curve, due to forward head posture, can stretch the spinal cord up to 5-7cm, resulting in adverse neural tension. (Subsequently causing additional tension of the meninges and eliciting additional pressure on the brain-stem nuclei leading to increased compression and disruption of basic metabolic control functions and diseases.)
5. Forward head posture results in an increase in discomfort and pain, due to disrupted proprioceptive and sensory input from the first four cervical vertebrae.
6. Forward head posture results in an anterior translation of the body’s center of gravity. This in turn results in a significant loss of balance and coordination, and increased likelihood of sustaining a fall.
To combat this problem, think tall . . . stand tall. Attempt to visualize that your head is sitting balanced atop your neck. If you struggle to maintain this ideal posture, consider a consultation with one of our 10 physical therapists at Alpine Physical Therapy by calling 251-2323.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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