iNeck, Reading Neck, Poor Posture. Why do we suffer from the modern condition?
Head Forward Posture
The term ‘Head Forward Posture’ refers to a postural dysfunction where the neck adopts a forward leaning position. This means the weight of the head is also being dragged forwards putting excess strain through the joints and muscles in the neck which need to work much harder to hold the head upright. Because of the head leaning forward, the muscles of the neck and upper body become imbalanced. Some muscles become tight and stressed, while others become very weak. As the head drifts further forward, our centre of gravity changes, so the mid-back compensates by drifting backwards. To compensate for the mid-back shift, the hips can tilt forwards. What we end up with are curves in our spine that are neither useful nor efficient and can lead to pain.
Why do we see this?
In the clinic, we are seeing more and more of this posture every day. Thanks to the technological boom in the 20th and 21st century, almost all of us have felt this at some point. You might work all day in front of a computer, or a decent percentage of your workday might involve looking at a screen. We’re all guilty of spending more time looking down at our phones; sending texts, checking social media accounts, and online shopping than we’d like to admit. All the activities encourage our head to either lean forward to look at a screen, or bend forward to look down, thus leading to a ‘head forward posture’.
As the head moves forward, the behaviour of the muscles in the neck and shoulders change. For every inch (2.5cms) the head moves forward, the weight on the muscles of the neck increases by 10 pounds. So in effect, your head gains an extra 4.5 kgs!
Not only can this lead to pain in the neck and mid to lower back, it can also contribute to, and cause headaches. We know that the nerves from the top three levels of our neck have the potential to refer pain to our head and face, causing a headache. If we adopt positions that repeatedly put stress through the muscles and joints of this section of our neck, eventually these nerves will become irritated/sensitive and produce pain.
Luckily, we all can become more mindful of our posture. Our clinicians are skilled at postural assessments and can help you achieve your posture related goals today. Here are some handy tips to help you on your way;