Are you concerned with your posture and your health? Are you experiencing neck or shoulder pain, muscle tension or headaches? These symptoms are characteristics of forward head posture and are your body’s warning signs that something is up.
Your team at Chirolife have written this posture article to provide advice so you can make an informed decision about your health. Your posture and your health are two of your most valuable assets!
Many people simply ‘put up’ with poor posture, and the health challenges that come with it, when in fact there is help available.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture, also known as ‘text neck’, ‘scholar’s neck’ or ‘computer posture’, is a concerning posture you should be worried about. The forward (and downward) shift of the head has become so prevalent, in part because of our lifestyle – working behind computers, looking down at tablets and phones – and also because of poor posture habits.
As a chiropractor, I can tell you that forward head posture is the anterior (forward) positioning of the cervical (neck) spine, and I consider it a degenerative posture. It tends to worsen over time, rather than get better, without any form of treatment or intervention.
Study: Forward-Curved Posture and Mortality
Do you know that your posture has an effect on your health? One study1 looked into the association between hyperkyphotic posture (forward-curved posture of the upper back or thoracic spine) and rate of mortality in older persons.
The study concluded, “older men and women with hyperkyphotic posture have higher mortality rates.”
This is an alarming conclusion and one that deserves much more awareness.
The Secret Power of Your Posture
Chiropractors have known for a long time that you are at your strongest when your posture is in a natural alignment. A natural and neutral posture can be described in the following ways:
- A neck position that allows your head to sit directly above your shoulders.
- You should be able to line up your ear to the middle of your shoulder, vertically.
- Your posture should be symmetrical from the front (or back)
- From the side, your hips, shoulders and head should be vertically aligned
Signs and Symptoms of Forward Head Posture may Include:
- An obvious forward head position
- A rounded upper back
- Neck pain and upper back tension
- Headache pain
- Feelings of irritability, discomfort or nausea
- Pain when you look down, such as when using a smart phone, tablet, or working on a laptop
- Restricted breathing (due to chest compression)
Forward Head Posture: What Does the Research Say?
One study2 looked at ‘The Effect of The Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Worker’ and concluded “the results of this study suggest that forward head postures during computer-based work may contribute to some disturbance in the balance of healthy adults.”
How to Prevent Forward Head Posture
Be aware of your posture and change your habits to avoid ‘looking down’ for long periods of time
- Invest in a monitor raiser
- Ensure your computer screen is, at a minimum, positioned at eye level
- Regularly stretch your neck and upper back muscles to maintain flexibility
- Exercises to correct forward head posture
- How to correct forward head posture
Consider the previously mentioned points, as well as the following:
- Neck traction exercises
- Orthotic devices, as recommended by your chiropractor
- Specific stretches, such as ‘neck extensor and pectoralis major stretches and deep neck flexor and shoulder retractor strengthening exercises3’
Can a Chiropractor Help Forward Head Posture?
In some cases, yes. A combination of exercises and manual therapy, including chiropractic.
Start chiropractic today. Are you ready to learn how a chiropractic checkup may help you? It’s a checkup that tells you about the health of your spine and nervous system and how we may help you overcome your health challenges.
1. Kado DM, Huang MH, Karlamangla AS, Barrett-Connor E, Greendale GA ‘Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community-dwelling Men and Women: A Prospective Study’ J Am Geriatr Soc 2004 (Oct); 52 (10): 1662—1667.
2. Kang J-H, Park R-Y, Lee S-J, Kim J-Y, Yoon S-R, Jung K-I. The Effect of The Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Worker. Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2012;36(1):98-104. doi:10.5535/arm.2012.36.1.98.
3. Katherine Harman, Cheryl L. Hubley-Kozey, and Heather Butler ‘Effectiveness of an Exercise Program to Improve Forward Head Posture in Normal Adults: A Randomized, Controlled 10-Week Trial’ Journal Of Manual & Manipulative Therapy Vol. 13 , Iss. 3,2005.