You’re Way Too Forward!!
Posture: The way our bodies are positioned; the way we hold our bodies.
The human body can assume multiple positions thus making posture both static (still) and dynamic (changing in direction). It is determined by the spine which consists of 3 parts, namely the cervical spine (neck region), thoracic spine (upper-middle back) and lumbar spine (lower spine). There are 4 types of posture – Kyphosis, Flat Back, Lordosis, and Forward Neck/Head. Today, we’ll look at Forward Neck/Head as it affects the greater population.
As you can see in Figure 1, the head leads the body wherever it goes; the shoulders and back hunch in response to the head moving forward. The neck’s job is to vertically carry the skull’s weight, which is roughly 4.5 kilograms, or 10 pounds, and per a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy science, “for every inch of movement forward, there is an extra 10 pounds of weight placed on your neck”. This could lead to:
- Pain in the shoulder blades
- Cervical spine arthritis
- Limited range of motion
Forward Neck/Head occurs when the neck and head are in a forward position, extending the head past the shoulders. Fun Fact: it is also called Text Neck, indicating the forward tilt of the neck due to constant hunching over cellphones and computers. This will inevitably lead to pain, stiffness, and tension in the neck, shoulders, and back which, in turn, will lead to:
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle fatigue
- Poor balance
- Compromised organs (liver, lungs, heart)
Strengthening and stretching exercises are best for combating Forward Neck/Head, such as “chin tucks” and “chest stretches” respectively. Additionally, one can ergonomically setup one’s work space by elevating the computer screen, or monitor, to a height which doesn’t necessitate neck tilting, as well as use a chair with a good headrest to support the neck. Another solution would be buying an orthopedic pillow for sleep. Such pillows are specifically designed to support the head and cervical spine.
As you’ve hopefully been conscientized, bad posture is no joke. It’s a serious threat to one’s overall health and wellbeing. Fortunately, it’s never to late to start righting these wrongs. Even if the D-I-Y route [God forbid] proves a dead end, your qualified and trusted healthcare professionals won’t!