Poor Posture and the Weight of Your Head
Apr 01, 2011 01:23AM
The human head weighs between 8 and 10 lbs and represents 8% of your total body mass. In a neutral posture position the head feels as if it weighs nothing because the body is perfectly balanced, but for every one inch the head moves forward, away from a neutral balanced posture, the head feels as if its weight has doubled. This is due to the effects of gravity and the tension placed on the neck muscles, the joints and the discs of the cervical spine.
Forward head posture, known as hyperkyphotic posture, forces the muscles that raise the chin to remain in constant contraction which puts pressure on the suboccipital nerves and may cause headaches at the base of the skull, and may even mimic sinus headaches.
Studies have also indicated associations between forward head posture and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), upper crossed syndrome, cervicogenic headaches, and upper thoracic and cervical trigger points.
A forward head posture is also associated with the development of Upper Thoracic Hump, which can devolve into Dowager Hump because a persistent forward head posture puts compressive loads upon the upper thoracic vertebra eventually causing fractures (anterior wedging).
Do you have forward head posture? Drop an imaginary line from your external auditory meatus (your ear hole) straight down. It should bisect your shoulder. If the line drops to the front portion of the shoulder or in front of the shoulder, your head is translated forward.
It's not uncommon for chiropractors to observe 2" of anterior head placement on new clients. Left uncorrected, forward head posture will continue to decline and can lead to more severe pain as well as advanced degeneration of the joints and discs of the neck and upper back.
Chiropractors have been very successful at relieving the pain and discomfort associated with forward head posture, but more importantly, chiropractic can be a process of reducing the degree of forward translation and addressing the cause of this problem.
Dr. Daniel Weber owns The Joint, a chiropractic place located at 3016 Lake Washington Rd in Melbourne. Each visit is only $20 and no appointment is necessary. For more information call 321-254-2828, or visit www.thejoint.com.