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Forward Head Posture
The 42-Pound Head
"For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds." Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3
Consider, for a moment, this list of 10 ailments.
1) Tension-type headaches
2) Tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
3) "Knots" in the back of the neck
4) "Rocks" in the shoulders
5) "Sore" chest muscles
6) General irritability
7) Poor sleep
8) Chronic "achy" feeling all over
9) Numbness or tingling in the arms and/or hands
10) Trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain)
Did you know that all of them could be caused by (or stem from) the same underlying condition? Can you guess what it is?
The answer is Forward Head Posture (FHP). That's right, all 10 problems are associated with the same underlying cause.
Many things can cause forward Head Posture. Here is a list of 5 of the more common ones:
1) Computer ergonomics
2) Your pillow that you sleep with every night
3) Genetics from your family tree
4) Driving with your head more than 2 to 3 inches away from the headrest
5) Carrying a backpack or heavy purse slung over one shoulder
These are not all of the causes of FHP, but enough to make the point. The problem is that repeated forward and/or downward facing postures cause concurrent hypotonic (lengthening) and hypertonic (shortening) of several major muscles (i.e., levater, rhomboid, trapezius, pectoral), degeneration of cervical (neck) vertebrae, and irritation of cervical nerves. Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it:
"FHP leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis, and pinched nerves." (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, V.18, #3, March 2000)
Did you know that pinched nerves, tightened muscles, postural imbalance all cause blood stagnation, which leads to toxic buildup. Think of a pond where the water is not moving and has become stagnant. The blockage of free-flowing water leads to stagnant water where nasty things grow. In the human body, where there is blockage or stagnation, there is pain.
What You Can Do
Here are four simple things you can do to correct (or re-balance) a Forward Head Posture.
Lying Head Raise Lay face down on the floor, with your hands overlapped and held on your lower back. Lift and extend your head and shoulders up, while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for three seconds, and repeat 15 times. Do this three times per day.
Chin Tuck Hold your shoulders straight. Stick your chin out to the front, hold for three seconds. Pull your chin in as far back as it will go, hold for three seconds. Repeat six times. Do this three times per day.
Chin to Chest Stretch Overlap your fingers and place both hands behind your head. Use your hands to push your head down so your chin goes toward your chest. Do NOT lower your head and then press with your hands, as this defeats the idea of the stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and return to the upright position. You should feel a stretch between your shoulders. Repeat three times. Do this three times per day.
Doorway Stretch Stand with both feet parallel behind (but in the center of) a doorframe. Place one arm 90-degrees along the side of the doorframe facing you. If your right arm is touching the frame, then your right foot takes a long step forward. Be sure to bend your knee, as if you were really trying to walk forward. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. If not, turn your body to the left. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat three times then switch sides. Do this three times per day.
CHANGE OUT YOUR PILLOW EVERY YEAR The linear traction pillow provides excellent support and eases muscle tension all night long.
Get Adjusted and Stay Adjusted!
Regular Chiropractic adjustments have shown over and over again to be extremely beneficial for forward head posture. Allowing the bones to move freely will enable the muscles to relax and the nerves to communicate to the muscles and organs normally and effectively.
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