Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Orem Chiropractor - Forward Head Posture = Headaches, Neck & Back Pain

As your Orem Chiropractor, here’s a fun little experiment to try.  Get something that weighs about 10 pounds and you can easily hold in your hand – like a 10-pound weight. 

We’re using a 10-pound weight because that’s the average weight of the adult head.  Now hold that weight with your fist towards the ceiling.  Now bend your wrist backwards.  (Don’t do this experiment if you have hand or wrist problems)  With your wrist bent back you are mimicking the natural curve of your neck.  Get a sense for what the feels like. 

Now take the curve away by holding your arm and wrist perfectly vertical.  Get a sense of how that feels.  Now slowly move your hand forward and elbow backwards.  How does that feel compared to when you were holding the weight with your wrist bent backwards?  Not very good, I’m sure. 

According to Dr. Kapandji in his book Physiology of the Joint, Volume III, for every inch your head moves forwards, it add 10 pounds of stress and tension to the muscle of your neck and upper back. 

Now back to our experiment.  The weight represents your head and your forearm represents your spine.  After doing our little experiment with the weight I’m sure you can understand how much harder the muscles in your neck and upper back have to work when your head is in this abnormal posture. 

This condition is called “Forward Head Posture.”  People with this condition lose the normal curve of their neck and the head moves out in front of the neck and shoulders.

Another consequence is the suboccipital muscles (muscles just below your skull in the back of your head) become extremely tight, which puts pressure on the three suboccipital nerves.  This can result in headaches felt in the base of the skull and in the sinus area in the front of your head.

Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states:

Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis, which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation.”

As an Orem Chiropractor, it's not uncommon to observe 2" of anterior head placement.  Would you be surprised that your neck and shoulders hurt if you had a 20-pound watermelon hanging around your neck?  

Forward head posture is also known as hyperkyphotic posture and can also lead to an upper thoracic hump.  Those with forward head posture (FHP) have also been shown to have a 1.44 greater rate of mortality.

After visiting with Dr McArthur I soon discovered that these headaches I was having, from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, could be solved with chiropractic care.  I really enjoyed how the doctor sat and listened to me and really wanted to help me. He told the truth.  I had been having these headaches for months and was always taking pills.  Since beginning my care I am so much more alert, I have more energy, I’m not taking a lot of pills and I don’t snap at anyone anymore either because I am not in the constant pain that I use to be in.  I would recommend Dr McArthur to others because he has helped me so much and I really feel better.  Others deserve that.  I also enjoy all of the energy that Dr McArthur and the office staff has.  They are always happy and eager to help you, definitely great customer service.  Karyn H., Orem

Orem Chiropractor – R. Ned McArthur, D.C. has proven track record in bringing relief and correction to those who experience forward head posture.

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