These days my CranioSacral Therapy practice is filled with kids and adults experiencing a variety of symptoms related to forward head posture (FHP). These symptoms can include headaches, head pain, tired or strained eyes, suboccipital spasm and shoulder pain/arm pain.
What is forward head posture? FHP happens as our head moves further out over our shoulders and chest as we peer down at our digital devices. The problem with this new posture is that the weight of our head increases the further we bend our head forward, putting more strain on the muscles, ligaments and fascia responsible for supporting the weight.
In neutral spine the weight of the head is about 12 pounds. For every inch the head moves forward from its ideal gravitational center, it feels as if it weights an additional 10 pounds. So if the head moves an inch forward, the brain perceives the weight of the head to now be 32 pounds. If our head moves two inches forward, we then have a 42 pound ball to balance on top of our spine. Three inches forward, 52 pounds. You get the idea.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for this amount of weight to change the structure of our spine. The wear and tear on the soft tissue, as well as the spine itself, makes it increasingly difficult for our body to stabilize our head and spine. This can then cause potentially damaging issues like bone spurring, facet sticking, nerve impingement and disc degeneration.
The good news is that if treated early enough we can undo the posture and the reverse the damage. And for those who come in long after they’ve been experiencing symptoms, I can still help. My advice for those who work on computers or spend hours a day looking down at devices, be as conscious as you can about good posture now. Set an alarm if you have to to take a break from the computer and check your posture. Get an ergonomic evaluation. Instead of bending your head to look down at your device, bring the device up to eye level. My final piece of advice is to not ignore symptoms! They are our bodies alert system telling us that something is out of balance. Find a good practitioner, I’m partial to craniosacral therapy (CST) and get on it early. The sooner I can see someone the easier and faster it is to correct the situation.
You’re in good health,