Hello.. how are you doing? When I check on my friends and family these days, all that I hear is:
"Oh, I've been getting some shoulder, neck pain," "it has been there for few months, didn’t bother me much, but now I can’t sleep well at night," "The pain bothers me so much not able to lift my arm or turn my head."
Well, As I investigate further almost all activities of their daily life causes forward head posture. Perhaps this could be the most common cause of neck, shoulder pain.
Forward Head Posture
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture is a postural distortion pattern of the head and neck. As we bend our neck forward at varying angles the amount of pressure on the neck multiplies. When the head is in a neutral position it weighs approximately 10-12 pounds. When you look down at a 15-degree angle the amount of weight increases to 32 pounds. The further your head goes forward into flexion, the more pressure there is on the neck.
When you look down at your smartphone at a 60-degree angle, it can add up to 60 pounds of pressure to your neck and shoulders!
You can have a friend check to see if you have forward head posture by performing a simple test.
1. From the side your ears should be aligned over your shoulders.
2. If your ears are forward in relation to your shoulders, you may be suffering from forward head posture.
Forward head posture can be caused by looking downward with forward flexion for prolonged periods of time like while looking at a laptop, smartphone, tablet or reading. It can also be caused by jutting the head forward for prolonged periods of time while viewing a computer screen or sitting with slouched posture.
Result of Forward Head Posture:
If you have forward head posture, you may be experiencing these symptoms, or can develop these symptoms later on:
Neck pain: your neck feels tight or stiff
Shoulder tightness: your shoulders feel tight, especially after a long day of work
Headaches: you may experience headaches that can start in your neck and go up to your head
Migraines: heightened sensitivity combined with poor posture may result in a migraine
Jaw pain: you may experience clicking of your jaw or pain in the jaw
Pain down your arm: you may experience pain that radiates from your neck down your arm to your hand
Work/Lifestyle factors that cause Forward Head Posture
Forward head posture is due to poor posture habits while performing long or repetitive tasks, such as working at your laptop/computer. In many cases forward head posture is caused by a slumped position of the mid-back and shoulders, resulting in the anterior carriage of the head.
Looking downward with forward flexion of the cervical spine for prolonged periods of time (looking at a smartphone or tablet)
Jutting the head forward for prolonged periods of time while viewing a computer screen
Reading with the head down or jutting forward
Poor sleeping posture with the head in neck flexion or anterior translation from too many pillows
Slumped forward seated posture with a postural hyperkyphosis and resultant forward head posture
Prevention Strategies :
Simple switches to your posture habits can help you prevent postural distortion patterns. Focusing on improving your back, neck, and head posture to prevent forward head posture. A postural distortion pattern in one quadrant of your body can impact the alignment of the rest of your body.
1. Perform Posture Breaks: See Our library for a variety of stretches and exercises
2. Bring Your Smartphone Up to Eye Level
Bring your elbows into your body so your arms are supported
Hold your phone up with your arms supported
Navigate your phone with your device up, not looking down
3. Raise Your Laptop screen
Place something such as a box, books or laptop stands underneath your laptop to raise your screen up to eye level. While you do this please do ensure that external keyboard and mouse is used as input device.
Look forward at your screen instead of slouching your shoulders and allowing your head to translate forward.
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