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Head Forward Posture | Therapy Article World

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Head Forward Posture

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Posted by: Brittany on 06/18/2012
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Not too long ago I came across an article that was discussing the link between mental wellbeing and was is known as 'Head Forward Posture'. At the time, I did not have time to read the full article but found the idea very interesting. After breezing through it and recognizing some of the symptoms in myself, I decided to look at my posture and be conscious of where I hold my head on my body. To my suprise, I find that I am a Head Forward person! After coming to this realization, I decided to look into the effects of this type of posture and find out what I can do about it. 

To be head forward is to hold your head forward off the central axis of your spine. Perfect cervical posture is to hold your head stacked directly on top of your spine so that your ears are centered at the middle of your shoulders from the central and side view. When a person his head forward, their head sits in front of this axis. For every inch that one's head sits forward, there is an added 10lbs of weight/stress to the spine, mucles and other soft tissues. When the head sits forward in such a manner, the stress is felt on the muscles of the neck and upper back such as the cervical extensors and the upper traps. Tension is even felt on the TMJ causing bite problems and jaw pain. Holding your head in the forward position is often the cause of neck pain and tension headaches. Forward head position can also contribute to pinched nerves, constricted blood vessels, thoracic outlet syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis and general chronic muscle pain. 

In addition to the physical problems mentioned above, forward head positioning can also affect your breathing and how well oxygen is being received by your lungs. Holding the head forward can cause the chest to take on a more sunken position which can impair breathing. When normal breathing is upset, body function is also upset by the lack of oxygen and the incompatible levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. When this happens, other organs in our bodies are also affected. This stress on the body can manifest as anxiety and panic attacks. 

Unfortuneately, many of the aspects of our daily life contribute to  and nurture this head forward position. Activities such as computer/laptop positioning, reading postitioning, videogames, heavy backpacks, our driving positioning and trauma all contribute to forward head posture. Even simple things like resting your head/chin in your hand(s) can contribute to forward head posture. 

If you suspect that you are a head forwrad person, there are things that you can do to correct it. However, if this is something that has been a long standing issue with you, it will take time to correct simply because the body has changed the way that it is positioned in a permanent way. The first and most important thing to do is to get examined by a Physical therapist or a Chiropractor. These health professionals will be able to give you exercises and techniques that will start correcting your forward head positioning.

In the mean time, you can start re-positioning your televisions and computers making them eye-level and 18" to 24" from your face. It will allso be helpful to take a moment and be conscious of your head positioning every 20-30 minutes. At these times, sit up straight and pull the head back so that it sits directly over the shoulders, hold for a 3 count and repeat for 15-20 reps.  Another helpful exercise is to lay on the floor face down, lift the head and shoulders into an extended position while pinching the shoulder blades together, hold for 3 seconds and repeat 15-20 times. Regarding backpacks, they should never be more than 15% of a child's body weight and if available, the child should use a chest and waist belt. Also, the backpack should never be worn over one shoulder. Without these precautions, the head will come forward to compensate for the heavy weight. 

Making the above mentioned changes to the positioning of the body and the devices around us, we can start the correction process for head forward posture therefore avoiding the painful and uncomfortable effects that it can have on us. 

 

Info found at:

http://www.denvertechchiro.com/files/fhp_revised.pdf

http://www.sociatropin.com/blog/forward-head-posture-rewritten/

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