Monday, May 27, 2019

               Blog #87 Forward Head Posture – Problems and Solutions

Since May is Posture month, this blog will discuss forward head posture.  This is just as it sounds – instead of being optimally positioned and balanced, the head and neck are positioned forward, to a greater or lesser degree.  Texting, sitting at a desk, reading a book, riding a bike and driving a motor vehicle can all lead a person to hold their head and neck forward on their torso.  Ideally, the head, torso, pelvis and lower extremities should all be aligned.  This provides the best balance and stability as well as the least stress on the joints.  The further the head is held forward of the torso, the more stress is placed on the bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles of the neck and upper back.

Experiment with something weighing about ten pounds, which is about what the average adult human head weighs.  A ten pound bowling ball would be best, but short of that, choose something that you can hold up in your palm, in front of your body with your elbow bent at 90 degrees.  Then slowly bend your arm forward.  Notice that the object feels lightest when held with the elbow at 90 degrees, and when the arm bends forward, increasing the angle at the elbow, the object feels increasingly heavy. You would feel more strain at your shoulder and elbow.  The muscles, tendons, and ligaments associated with these joints would also be more stressed, and would be more likely to tire or even sustain an injury than they would if the weight was more balanced and stable. 

The same is true of your head and neck.  The further your head is forward, the heavier it feels and the harder the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones have to work to support it.  Over the years, this can cause inflammatory changes in the neck (arthritis) and will speed up degenerative changes in the cervical spine.  With spinal degeneration can come injuries to spinal discs, including bulging and herniation. 

Students and desk-workers tend to be particularly prone to developing forward head posture.  Some of the most effective ways to prevent, counteract and reverse this imbalance are practicing Strong Posture exercises daily, becoming aware of posture and maintaining awareness at all times, and making changes in habits, home, and work environment, such as using a standing work station, sitting on a large exercise ball, adjusting computer screen and keyboard to posture, and taking regular breaks from sitting and reading. 

This Blog’s offer:  contact me for more information about Strong Posture evaluation and training.  Classes are inexpensive and can help increase energy, reduce or eliminate pain, improve performance in sports, and help improve quality of life at all ages.  The introductory session, which lasts 15 to 20 minutes is complimentary.