A common problem many chiropractors see in the computer age is forward head posture. If you work a desk job or spend a lot of time on electronic devices such as tablets or smartphones, then you are probably guilty of this posture. But what is it and how can it impact you and your overall health?
What is it?
Forward head posture is when you lean your head forward, placing the weight of your head over the front of your body. This requires the muscles in the neck to work harder to support the weight of your head, which also happens to effectively increase the farther forward your head goes. This can lead to some chronic problems such as:
Lower back pain
Forward head posture creates excessive strain on the muscles in your neck and back. It has been estimated that for every inch your head sits in front of your shoulders, the weight of it increases by 10 lbs. To cope with the extra weight, your muscles are in constant contraction. This adds pressure to the base of your skull and can lead to headaches, tingling and numbness in the arms, and a burning pain between the shoulder blades. The more serious issue with forward head posture is that it restricts the movement of your ribs and therefore your ability to breath deeply. This has a huge affect on the heart and lungs, preventing them from function properly.
How to Know if You Have it
So, how can you determine if you are a victim of forward head posture? Well, there’s an easy way to find out, all you have to do is the wall test. To do this, you should:
Stand with your head and back against the wall, keeping your heels six inches from the wall.
Place as many fingers as you can between the wall and the back of your neck. If you can fit three fingers (or more!) between your neck and the wall, then you probably have forward head posture. And you’re certainly not alone. The American Chiropractic Association says that about 90 percent of adults suffer from this issue. When you consider just how much time the average person spends in front of the computer or driving in a car, it’s an easy statistic to believe.
How to Correct it
There are some things you can do to help minimize neck pain and correct forward head posture. You should:
Adjust the computer screen to eye level
Lift your chest when sitting
Perform some corrective exercises such as chin retractions and a chin tuck
Buy an ergonomic chair to better support your body
Use a neck pillow
See the chiropractor regularly
We can help you determine if forward head posture is a problem for you, as well as help head off complications at the pass to restore health and mobility. Hopefully, neck pain caused by forward head posture will not be a part of your future!