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Chiropractic Battling Forward Head Posture Epidemic

By Chris Brown

Standing in line at the grocery store, it seems like everyone's got their necks craned down towards their phones. Over time, constant downward stares like this can cause a permanent bent position of the neck, known as "text neck" or "forward head posture." Forward head posture is reaching epidemic levels globally, causing ailments well beyond the visual eye sore of an arched neck.

Diagnosing Forward Head Posture

The easiest way to diagnose forward head posture is to stand normally and have a friend take a picture of you from the side. In ideal neck posture, your ear should line up with your shoulder. If the ear is in front of your shoulder, you have some degree of forward head posture.

Forward head posture may be the hidden cause behind other ailments. The added load of a forward head can pressure the spine and result in headaches, decreased range of motion, and chronic pain in the shoulders and neck. Plus, aesthetically, a forward head doesn't put your best self out to the world and decreases your height over time.

Why You Have Forward Head Posture

So, you found that you have a forward head posture, don't worry. Thanks to the prevalence of cell phone and computer use, forward head posture is common. One study of 188 healthy participants aged 18 to 30 years found that 67 percent had forward head posture.

Forward head posture develops because the relative weight on the neck increases as the head moves forward. For example, at proper standing or sitting posture your head only weighs 10-12 pounds. However, when leaned forward simply 15 degrees, the neck now requires relatively 27 pounds of strength to hold it up. Head weight leaps to 60 pounds when at the common position for cellphone use, 60 degrees, is reached. This exponential weight increase explains how the condition progresses as increasing alignment issues result in a heavier pressure on the neck.

What Chiropractic Can Do About Your Forward Head Posture

The good news is that, in many cases, forward head posture can be reversed. However, the sooner it is addressed, the better the results. This is because chronic forward head posture causes a shortening and lengthening of muscles which reinforce improper head position and lead to further postural decay.

Chiropractors loosen the tightened back and pectoral muscles that have adapted to the neck's current position. They will additionally adjust the spine to ensure that subluxations don't prevent proper alignment. Following adjustment, chiropractors can teach posture exercises and lifestyle tweaks to further fight posture digression. Just as it became progressively worse, do not expect your forward head posture to be cured in one session. It may take time to move the head back into position and build up muscular support.

For a forward neck posture consultation, walk into The Joint Chiropractic anytime during their conveniently expanded night and weekend hours. No appointments or insurance are accepted, so The Joint's affordable care is simple and straightforward. The Joint's doctors are waiting to correct your postural problems and help you become the best version of yourself.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mission Viejo, Calif.

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