Forward Head Posture Could be Putting Excess Strain on Your Spine
Have you ever woken up with a bad kink in your neck or a neck muscle strain that just wouldn’t go away? Or perhaps you come home from work with an aching neck and shoulders but aren’t sure why. These ailments are common symptoms of a phenomenon called “forward head posture,” and it is damaging your spine.
Ideally, your head would sit perfectly centered over your neck and shoulders. Unfortunately, this healthy, erect posture is slowly being replaced by forward head posture, where your head is carried over the shoulders, significantly farther forward than your body’s center of gravity.
When San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO patients come to see us at Posture Works, they often don’t realize that the way they sit plays a big role in the way their bodies feel day after day. However, forward head posture may cause severe damage to the spine over time due to the immense amount of pressure the position puts on your muscles, joints, and vertebrae.
What does forward head posture stem from?
Forward head posture is largely caused by hunching over a computer; it is quite common in today’s world because many students and adults spend eight or more hours a day typing or reading from screens. Another cause is “text neck,” or pain and stiffness caused from holding your head down while using a mobile device for long periods each day.
Additionally, injury may stem from carrying heavy backpacks, maintaining poor posture throughout the day, and sleeping in bad positions.
The damaging effects of forward head posture
Although your head is designed to move forward to some degree, the major problem with forward head posture is the length of time it is usually sustained. The amount of pressure put on your spine increases the farther forward you strain your head, and withstanding that pressure for hours every day may be extremely damaging. This creates a chain reaction of negative effects on your spine. The following are just some of the effects forward head posture may have on your body:
- Flattening of the spine: Over time, forward head posture may cause the natural curve of your cervical spine to flatten or even reverse, making your spine a straight line down your back. When this happens, the weight of your head sits squarely on your neck and spinal column, putting an even greater burden of pressure on your spinal discs.
- Disc degeneration: More pressure on the spinal discs between the vertebrae may lead to premature disc degeneration, a condition that occurs naturally over time. The more stress your discs endure, the higher your risk is of developing a bulging or herniated disc.
- Muscle strain: In addition to the spine, your neck muscles may become strained because they will have to do extra work to support your neck. Strains can cause painful trigger points and aches.
- Shoulder problems: When forward head posture gets quite severe, you may begin to round your shoulders forward to remain comfortable. This change in posture may result in a rounded upper back and shoulder pain.
Preventing and treating spine damage
Actively preventing forward head posture is the best way to save yourself from neck, back and shoulder pain. Keep devices like phones and computer screens at eye-level as much as possible and invest in a computer monitor stand that raises your screen to the perfect height, so you can keep your head level while you work.
If you are currently suffering from the negative effects of forward head posture, heat and cold therapy, stretching, and gentle neck exercises may help you manage pain at home. Additionally, chiropractic adjustments and manipulations may be able to help treat your pain by realigning the spinal segments and returning the body to its natural balance.
Contact the spinal experts at Posture Works in San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO if you are experiencing pain due to forward head posture. Using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), our approach to total-body wellness, we may be able to reverse the effects of forward head posture and relieve your pain in no time.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.