Take a look at the person next to you. From the side, is their ear in line with their shoulder or when they walk through a door is their head getting through before the rest of their body? Now have a friend take a look at your posture from the side.
In the poster down below, the first sketch (on the left) represents “perfect” head posture. A line dropped from the centre of the external auditory meatus (EAM) would land directly in the centre of the shoulder (the tip of the acromion process). The graphic demonstrates the progression of forward head posture (occasionally referred to as “anterior head translation”).
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forward it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned, because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping onto your chest. This also forces the suboccipital muscles (they raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the three suboccipital nerves. This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches.
Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states: “Head in forward posture can add up to 30 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 per cent 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.”
Persistent forward head posture puts compression on the area of the spine through the shoulders. It is also associated with the development of Upper Thoracic Hump, which can evolve into Dowager Hump when the vertebra develop compression fractures (anterior wedging). A recent study found this hyperkyphotic posture was associated with a 1.44 greater rate of mortality.
Would you be surprised that your neck and shoulders hurt if you had a 20-pound watermelon hanging around your neck?
That’s what forward head posture can do to you. Left uncorrected, FHP will continue to get worse. Have your spine checked by a qualified corrective chiropractor to see if you have misalignments that are causing you to have a declining level of health. Our specialty is in reversing misalignments in your spine to prevent degeneration and decay and in reinvigorating the muscles that normally retract the head.
For more information, please contact [email protected] or call (02) 9418 9031.