Forward Head Posture

So what is "Forward Head Posture?GÇ¥ and why should anyone be concerned about posture anyway?-á In today's article I'd like to share some information regarding an issue concerning our health that is becoming increasingly more common of a problem.-á FHP or "Forward Head PostureGÇ¥ is just as it states, when your head jets out away from the center of the shoulder.-á "PerfectGÇ¥ head posture is when a line dropped from the center of the external auditory meatus (EAM or your ear) would land directly in the center of the shoulder.-á So take a moment and look at yourself in the mirror, or better yet have your spouse or a friend assess your posture to see if your ear actually a line up with your shoulder like it's supposed to.-á With the ever changing landscape of technology over the last three decades our society has become more sedentary as a large percentage of jobs are done by sitting at a computer.-á Along with the progression of smart phones and tablets we find ourselves either looking down at our devices or hunched over a desk staring at a computer screen.-á-á So what's the problem? The average head weighs roughly 10 to 12 pounds.-á For every inch that your head is forward from your shoulders, the load that is placed on the muscles and ligaments of the neck increases by 10 pounds!-á So if your head is past your shoulders by 3 inches, the muscles and ligaments of your neck are now carrying a load of 42 pounds, instead of 12.-á The significance of this can be seen subjectively as well as objectively.-á The continual occurrence of forward head posture leads to a plastic deformity of the ligaments in the cervical spine.-á When ligaments are stretched beyond their normal tensile capacity they change, and can't go back to the normal shape on their own.-á This is called a plastic stretch or a plastic deformity of the soft tissue structures. This can be a long standing problem in that as the natural shape of the spine becomes malformed leading to improper articulation of the joints in the neck causing early degenerative processes to take place.-á Another problem with FHP is that the excessive force on muscles of the neck causes them to fatigue, tighten up and create trigger points.-á Common muscles affected by FHP are the subocciptal muscles, which are located in the upper neck at the base of the skull, the upper portions of the trapezius, commonly referred to as the shoulders, and the anterior scalenes.-á Trigger points in these muscles often lead to headaches, neck pain, numbness down the arms and a feeling of fatigue.-á Another long term implication of FHP is that it can lead to long term postural deformities like rounding of the upper back, or the "humpGÇ¥ back as the thoracic spine is trying to compensate for the FHP. The good news is that this is a manageable problem.-á-á In fact just being conscious of your posture results in 50% of the solution, the other 50% revolves around action steps that you must take on your own.-á Depending upon your profession or place of work you may be able to have an ergonomic assessment of your work station.-á Check with your HR department to see if these types of services are available to you.-á Exercise, period. I recommend consulting with a personal trainer to learn how to exercise with proper technique emphasizing on improving posture.-á-á Also consulting a health care professional like a physical therapist or a Doctor of Chiropractic can give you insight on effective approaches to addressing you FHP and give you the proper tools to manage your posture throughout your lifetime.


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