Stop being a pain in the neck! Be smarter than your smartphone 😉
Do you suffer from tight shoulders, upper back pain or stiffness in the neck? Do you get headaches, migraines, jaw pain? It might be as simple as keeping your head too far forward. Forward Head Posture (FHP) is when your head is in an unnaturally forward position.
A human head weighs between 8 and 10 pounds on average. With correct posture, your head doesn’t feel like it weighs much at all because it is perfectly balanced and positioned. When Forward Head Posture begins to develop and your head begins to move forward away from its balanced position, the weight of your head begins to increase.
Are you reading my post on your cellphone? Are you bending your neck forward to look at the screen? If yes, by the time you are done reading my post you’ll have a relatively mild ache in the neck or upper back. Looking down at your device is like having a 60 pound weight on your neck, according to a spine surgeon (similar to carrying a small child on your shoulders).
FHP is not just a superficial or aesthetic issue. It can lead to serious health problems such as: chronic pain (back or neck pain), headaches and migraines, TMJ problems, decreased ROM and many more. In 1974, Kapandji (a French orthopedic surgeon) concluded that the FHP will reduce the flow of cerebral spinal fluid that nourishes your brain and spinal cord. This loss of fluid circulation will further compromise the protection of your brain and spinal cord.
In my one year of manual osteopathy practice and almost two decades of massage therapy practice (yes, I know what you’re thinking and no, I didn’t start when I was 4) I have been treating common FHP problems almost every day. People often ignore FHP and don’t think of it as causing serious future problems.
If your ears are not lined up with your shoulders or if the back your head is not able to touch the wall when doing the FHP self test (align your heels at shoulder width apart, press your buttocks against the wall and be sure your shoulder blades are touching the wall), you should go see a manual osteopath or a massage therapist who will assess your neck posture and determine which muscles need to be released and which muscles need to be strengthened in order to fix your posture.
Important: I don’t recommend you to do any stretching or strengthening exercises without consulting a healthcare practitioner
Hold your cellphone straight in front of you (eye level) instead of bending your head down (I know it looks funny, but that’s the right way 😉)
Always be aware of your posture!
by Alina Turturica
Pharmacy Assistant, General Nurse, Massage Therapist, Reflexology Therapist, Manual Osteopath.
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