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Archive for August, 2013

Be Happy, Be Healthy – The Importance of Neck Posture

Our Physical Therapist, Mike found this great article on the importance of good head posture. If you have headaches, neck, head and shoulder pain, check this out!

Forward Head Posture

Forward Head Posture (FHP) can be recognized by the positioning of the ear being forward of the shoulder, rather than sitting directly over it. Poor neck posture leads to a Forward Head Position which is one of the most common causes of neck, head and shoulder tension and pain. This can be a result of long term habits of “slumping” at the computer, whilst driving, sitting poorly on the couch, or poor sleeping posture. These habits can be worsened if strains and sprains of the neck have occurred in the past which has weakened the neck muscles.

fhp3

Imagine how uncomfortable it would be to hang a bowling ball around your neck. Well this is exactly what your body might be experiencing every day if you suffer Forward Head Posture.

For every inch your head posture sits forward, the head gains 4.5kgs (10 pounds) in weight. This forces the muscles in your upper back and neck to work much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping forwards onto your chest. With your muscles in constant contraction to achieve this, pressure is added to the nerves at the base of the skull, which can cause headaches [24].

Forward Head Posture is a very common postural issue, and it is estimated to occur in between 66% [25] and 90% [26] of the population.

An increased forward head posture has been strongly associated with decreased respiratory muscle strength in patients [27], which can affect the ability to breath and reduce lung capacity by as much as 30% [28].

Forward head posture has also been linked to tension-type headaches, with the degree of forward head posture having a direct correlation with duration and frequency of headaches [29], as well as increased blood pressure [30]. Long term forward head posture leads to muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves and instability [31]. Abnormal neck posture has also been associated with headaches, abnormal functions of the eyes and the ears, and psychological and mental disorders [32].

Awareness of the correct neck and shoulder posture is the first step toward correction. A great way to start correcting poor neck posture is through exercises which are designed to help gain control over postural neck muscles which have become weak and fatigued over time.

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