Why is forward head posture so critical!?

by Dr. P. Carl Rafey 19. September 2014 11:46

dr. carl rafey

Forward head posture is a common problem with today's society and a concerning development with our younger population. It is estimated that 90% of our society has some degree of forward head posture.

What is forward head posture? In simple terms it describes how far the head sits forward when compared to the center of the shoulder. It has been calculated that for every inch forward the head sits in front of your shoulders it adds an additional 10 pounds in weight and stress to the muscles of your upper back and neck. This triggers the most common symptom of tension headaches.

With the average head weighing 8-12 pounds (the weight of a bowling ball) it is pertinent to have this weight sitting back "on top" of the rest of your spine for proper support. Advanced forward head posture also negatively affects your body's center of gravity.  

The famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California, Rene Cailliet M.D. states:

"Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis, which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation."

Also noted in the Mayo Clinic, "F.H.P. leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, and pinched nerves" Mayo Clinic Health Letter volume 18 #3, March 2000.

In today's society of cell phones, laptops, desk work, and television improper chronic posture of the head is starting at a younger age. It is very important to be aware of this factor and have a plan to avoid this potential condition. Chiropractors work with you to access your current situation and improve and prevent the development and enhancement of forward head posture. This is done with: postural exercises, pertinent chiropractic adjustments, cervical traction exercises and therapy, and modifications in daily posture.

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