The head and neck design allow for many movements including flexion and regular forward leaning. The challenge and consequences begin to occur when someone maintains a flexed or forward head posture position for extended periods of time. Cell phones, computers, desk jobs, and more sedentary living contribute to the growing number of people suffering from forward head posture syndromes and other detrimental health consequences.
A 2014 study published in the journal, Surgical Technology International, explained that the average person spends 2 hours to 4 hours a day with their head tilted forward, reading and texting on smart phones. Forward head carriage adds up to between 700 to 1,400 hours of excess abnormal cervical spine stress per year. A large percentage of people sit all day at their job in addition to time spent sitting on the couch after work watching television, reading, playing games or surfing the internet. Sedentary seating adds up to approximately 13 hours per day for the average person.
Sitting for long periods of time takes a toll on the body. Head posture in comparison to the neck and shoulders influences so many other aspects of health and performance. Forward head flexion for long periods of time negatively impacts whole body function. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, showed that forward head posture (FHP) decreases respiratory functions and increases respiratory accessory muscle activation. Forward head posture leads to high activation of superficial neck muscles, such as the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and upper trapezius, which can lead to SCM breathing patterns, and commonly neck pain and fatigue due to not oxygenating the body well, rather than the much healthier diaphragmatic breathing associated with many health benefits. As forward head deviation got worse, the lung and neck muscle findings and measurements also got worse. Authors concluded the need for maintenance of correct head posture to prevent these functional reductions associated with long-term health degeneration.
Chiropractic care represents one of the most utilised healthcare interventions to help patients improve their posture, head position, and spinal health. Three proactive tips to improve posture, reduce the risk of forward head posture, and improve overall health and well-being include:
- Commit to regular Chiropractic care.
- Utilise proper sitting ergonomics to ensure technology and office tasks be done with the head and neck at eye level.
- Do not sit for extended periods of time. A 20 second break every 20 minutes is recommended to keep the spine and body moving.
Chiropractors take pride in educating their patients on the dangers of prolonged sitting and forward head posture while providing unique care which minimises the risk of poor spinal and postural health. The best health care plan involves a proactive approach to prevent disease and damage which hinders the body’s function and performance. Choose Chiropractic.
* J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017 Aug 3;30(4):711-715. Correlation between forward head posture, respiratory functions, and respiratory accessory muscles in young adults.
* Surg Technol Int. 2014 Nov;25:277-9. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head.