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Posted on 08-07-2017

You guessed it, it is Forward Head Posture (FHP).  The effects of posture on health is becoming more evident.  Spinal pain, headaches, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.  Good news is that many of these symptoms, including pain can be reduced or eliminated by improve posture.  

We live in a forward-facing world, the repetitive use of computers, TV, video games, trauma, and even backpacks have forced the body to adapt to a forward head posture. Did you know that for every inch forward your head translates, the weight of your head increases Ten pounds?

What causes Forward Head Posture?

  1. Back Backs: Your children’s back backs can weigh an alarming 30-40 pounds! This forces the head forward to counter balance the weight resulting in abnormal stress to the discs, joints and nerves of the neck, shoulders and lower back.
  2. Computer Ergonomics: Positioning computer screens too low, coupled with repetitive motions of moving the head forward to read the screen is a primary factor of FHP.  
  3. Video Games / TV : Most kids use poor posture when playing video games and watching TV. Repetitively sitting in one position for long periods of time causes the body to adapt to this bad posture.
  4. Trauma: Falls and traumas can cause whiplash resulting in muscle imbalance. This pulls the spine out of alignment forcing the head forward.

So, what are the solutions: 

  1. The first step to correction is to get examined and x-rayed by a chiropractor, to identify the exact measurement of the FHP. Once that is established, a specific corrective care program for FHP is given including adjustments and specific exercises
  2. For office use and video game play, place your monitor height so the top third of the screen is even with your eyes and the screen is 18-24 inches from your face.  Support the lower back, and if children sit on the floor looking upward, have them use a floor pillow armchair and sit up straight.
  3. Every 20-30 minutes, sit up straight and pull back the neck and head back over the shoulders. Hold for a count of three and do 15-20 reps.  Alternatively, stand against a wall with a small pillow at your mid-back. Move your head back to touch the wall. Hold for a count of three for 15-20 seconds.
  4. Always use a back-support pillow when sitting or driving. By supporting the lower back, the head and neck will move back over the shoulders.
  5. At home, lay face down on the floor and extend your head and shoulders up, while pinching your shoulder blade together. Hold for a count of three and do 15-20 reps.
  6. Backpacks: Maximum backpack weight should be no more than 15% of the child’s weight.  Never wear backpacks over one shoulder.  Always use a waste belt, and if available, a chest belt to neutralize the load.  Without these belts, the head will move forward to compensate for the load. A new type of backpack with an air bladder had been shown to significantly reduce the weight without the strap.

All this Miller Ave construction is literally a pain in the neck.  Luckily for you our Body Signals Advanced Workshop series this month is on Neck Pain. We will be unpacking everything you want to know about neck pain.  How do you get neck pain? What can you do to avoid neck pain?  Once you have neck pain how do you get rid of it? 

Watch this brief video on what to expect during our Neck Pain Workshop.  Call or email the office to register yourself and a guest.  This workshop is open to the public so feel free to invite anyone who can benefit. But call to reserve your spot, due to the prevalence of this topic, seats will fill up fast. See you there. 

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After two adjustments, I was able to turn my head again!
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Mill Valley, CA