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Posted on 11-03-2017

Head Posture a Cause for Neck Pain

woman holding neck in pain

Does your neck always hurt, either when you wake up or by the end of a work day? Do you get frequent headaches or have constant tension in your upper back? Do you generally feel exhausted by the end of the day? Have you ever wondered if your head posture could be the cause of all these complaints?

Forward head posture is a prevalent issue that presents itself within our clinic. Some people can notice this change in their posture over time, but a lot of people generally don’t think that it is the main source of their pain. If you’ve ever wondered if this is an issue for you, ask someone to look at you from the side in your most relaxed position. When your head is positioned correctly, the opening of your ear should be centered over the middle of your shoulder. If your ear opening is off center (usually in line with the front of your shoulder or sometimes forward and past your shoulder), this is considered forward head posture (or forward head carriage). For every inch that your head is off center, this causes your head to weigh more than it should due to gravity. This means that your muscles in your neck and upper back have to work harder and usually sustain tension in order to keep your head up. This also weakens muscles necessary to keep your head over your spine. Chiropractic research has shown that for every inch that the head carries forward, it makes the head heavier by 10 pounds due to gravity, meaning 10 extra pounds of stress on your spine and your muscles. To compensate, this also leads to the rounding forward of the shoulders, keeping your body in a flexed presentation.

A big reason for this prevalence in our patients is that today’s lifestyle has changed and contributes quite a bit to this poor posture. Many of our patients have occupations that require them to be hunched over their computers all day or improperly using their phone either looking down or cradling it between their ear and shoulder. Children are spending more hours watching television or playing video games. Also, sedentary lifestyles leave people sitting down for prolonged periods, even during long commutes. The need to correct forward head posture has increases more and more each day, and if left untreated can lead to not only neck pain and headaches, but also disc compression, low energy, mood changes, and stress on your brain and nervous system.  

If you find that the above describes your current posture, here is a list of possible corrections from your chiropractor that you will find beneficial:

· Receive regular chiropractic adjustments. The goal of Chiropractic adjustments is to correct posture and alignment, and regular adjustments have been effective in reversing forward head posture, reducing pain and preventing further damage to the spine. 

· Take breaks! If you find that you’re sitting down for a long period of time, especially in front of a TV or computer screen, make sure to get up and stretch at least every 20-30 minutes. 

· Limit the amount of time you are spending on your phones, watching TV or playing computer/video games. 

· Be mindful of your posture. Make a conscious effort to make sure your head is sitting properly above your spine and that your shoulders are pressed back. 

· Get the right pillow. Refer to our previous blogs about sleeping positions to make sure you’re using a pillow height suitable for your sleeping posture. 

· Drink lots of water. Your discs require water from all the stress of our everyday jobs, so make sure that you allow them to regenerate properly by drinking the right amount of water. 

If you’re concerned about your posture and want to know more about how this affecting your pain and overall health, do not hesitate to contact your Mississauga Chiropractor at (905)821-4951 to book an appointment today!

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