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Correcting the Modern-Day Malady of Forward Head Posture

Woman stretching backIn this tech-saturated culture, many people are spending significant time daily looking down at their devices. From texting to surfing the internet to the neurological effects of stress, people of all ages, from children to adults, are adopting a forward head posture-the number one issue we see in the office.

How We Start Losing That Curve

You form the curves in the spine by crawling as an infant and doing tummy time-looking up, looking left and looking right. These actions help to form the joints in the cervical spine. The top part of the cervical spine (Occiput to C3) is the most neurologically dense area of the entire spine. It is the most important area and region of the spine that we adjust due to all of the neurological processes that occur here.

What happens through small traumas, big traumas and repetitive stress we may start to get forward head posture. We start losing the curve in the neck and our head comes in front of the shoulders, which then causes a whole host of compensations elsewhere throughout the entire body. This is the number one cause of most issues we see in new patients. Whether it’s neck pain, low back pain, hip pain, headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, or anxiety, all of that may be due to a loss of cervical lordosis.

Are You Carrying a Bowling Ball on Your Head?

The head weighs an average of 10-15 pounds, which is like carrying a bowling ball on your neck all day. According to research, for every inch forward the head goes in front of the shoulders it adds an additional 12-15 pounds of extra stress to the spine. So if someone has two inches of forward head posture that’s an additional 24-30 pounds of extra stress being placed on their spine!

Think about what that does to the rest of the spine and nervous system – it’s like your body is always in a tug of war competition!

Symptoms You May Experience

That extra stress on the spine can lead to the following:

  • Early-onset degeneration
  • Early-onset arthritis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Digestive and hormone issues

When you have forward head posture the amount of oxygen we can take into our body is limited because we aren’t able to get that full chest expansion-because the ribs can’t move properly. Because the ribs can’t move as they should, they aren’t able to allow the lungs to fully inhale. This will cause an increase in a person’s respiration rate thus leading to an increase in the heart rate.

When your head is way out in front of the shoulders it’s also putting more pressure on the back part of the discs, which may lead to disc issues and disc herniations. The result is a significant amount of compensation throughout the rest of the spine.

Chiropractic Can Help

While about 95% of the people who come into the office with low back pain, the actual cause, in a majority of cases, is forward head posture and loss of the cervical curve. Through structural correction, we can help fix these issues. Depending on the severity of arthritis and degeneration we can make effective corrections. It just takes a commitment like anything else when it comes to health.

How Long Will It Take to Correct?

We would start by doing a thorough evaluation, examination and take digital x-rays. It’s important to remember that healing takes time and repetition is necessary to elicit long-lasting change structurally and within the nervous system as well.

It’s like getting braces on your teeth. Sometimes people need to wear braces for 1-3 years because it takes time to correct the structure of bones. Similarly, forward head posture didn’t develop overnight so it won’t get better overnight.

If you have forward head posture, we can help. Call (720) 636-6064 today to book an appointment!

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