For the benefit of your long-term health, pulling your head in; or more accurately stated ... having your head sit directly over your shoulders, can save you a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering in the years to come
Every month, increasing numbers of people (especially females between 13 and 26 years old) are calling the Orange Chiropractic Centre seeking relief for their headaches, neck pain and reduced neck movement.
Ironically, a very common reason for these symptoms to develop is because of what you're doing right now .... reading this blog on your phone or with your computer screen positioned lower than it should be. In fact, this condition is so common, it even has it's own name ... "Text Neck". Forward head posture or text neck is a musculoskeletal condition where your neck projects forward, causing your head to sit forward of your body's neutral line of gravity.
Forward head posture is not a good thing.
The end result of regularly looking down to read your phone can cause a host of symptoms that interfere with your ability to fully enjoy your family time, social time and work duties. If left uncorrected, the following changes can happen to your spine without you even realising;
- your head moves further and further forward of your shoulders
- your shoulders become rounded
- someone might mention that you slouch
- turning your head to change lanes or park your car is becoming harder to do
As time goes by and your forward head posture worsens, you can also start to experience;
- bouts of fatigue that remain unexplained even after having blood tests and other scans performed
- pain in your neck,shoulders and upper, mid or lower back that persist despite having had massage, physiotherapy or having taken pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs
- damage to the joints in your spine, the ligaments that stabilise your spine
- persistent headaches
- poor sleep quality or you feel like your brain is a bit "foggy"
- shrinkage ... you feel as if your getting shorter
- having nerves "pinch" when you turn or hold your head in certain position
- and the list goes on
Can I Stop My Forward Head Posture From Getting Worse?
Well, it depends...
Before this question can be answered for you, we have to understand the cause of your forward head posture. Is it because of work or study habits? Do you have degeneration occurring in your spine? Has a previous injury caused you to develop postural compensations? Has a whiplash injury caused there to be a straightening of the curve in your neck? Or has your neck curve completely reversed? Or might it be a combination of several factors?
The fact is, you won't know unless you have an appropriate functional and postural exam. The findings of these exams might necessitate having x-rays of your neck analysed.
If we determine it is possible for your forward head posture to be corrected ( or at least have the progression slowed), the approach to your condition utilised by the Orange Chiropractic Centre involves;
- chiropractic treatments called adjustments to remodel the misligned spine
- appropriate stretching exercises for you to do at home, school or work
- joint mobilisation methods so you can enhance the range of motion in your spine
- soft tissue therapies to have your muscles, tendons and ligaments comply with the structural changes being made in your spine
- demonstration of proper postural habits...after all, we don't want you to regress once we've made the proper changes in your spine
Given that your forward head posture did not occur overnight, it stands to reason that the longer you've had your condition, the longer it will take to effect the necessary changes. Just like putting orthodontic braces on teeth, the process of reducing your forward head posture takes time. And the longer you leave it, the worse it becomes and the longer it takes to correct or manage.
And here's my prediction ... in the coming decade we will have epidemic proportions of text neck or forward head posture. Given the recent fad of Pokemon Go, we may even need to call this phenomena "Pokemon Posture"!
Where to from here?
So, when you're ready to stop the rot and determine if the cause of your headaches, back or shoulder pain might be coming from your forward head posture, call the Orange Chiropractic Centre and arrange a consultation with Dr. Mick Cornish, chiropractor.
And it doesn't matter how many times you get told to "pull your head in", or take pain killers or anti-inflammatory pills, or try and stretch the neck and back muscles, it won't solve your forward head posture. Sure, these activities might provide short-term relief, but they won't create the necessary changes in your spine and posture.
And remember, the sooner you act ... the quicker you respond...the sooner you can get back to living life pain free!
Dr. Mick Cornish first started providing trusted pain relief solutions to the people of Orange in 1998.