Poor Posture & Neck Pain
Many people have complaints of neck pain that can stem from a postural component.
When you are looking at someone from the side, a “normal” posture is one where the ear is positioned directly over the shoulder. When the head moves forward, in what is described as a forward head posture (FHP), many changes in the head and neck occur. 1. For every inch the head moves forward out of the “normal” posture, the weight of the head increases pressure on the cervical spine by 10 pounds.1 A normal head weighs 10-12 pounds; therefore, for every inch the head is placed in a forward position can potentially double or triple the weight of the head and pressure on the spine.
2. Forward head positioning will also promote muscular imbalances which leads to tension headaches and neck pain.2 The muscles in the neck, trunk and upper back must continually work to maintain this dysfunctional posture, creating pain in the neck and produce headaches.
3. Forward head positioning also causes and increased “hump” or thoracic kyphosis. FHP produces a decrease in neck motion, decreased overall rotation or turning, shoulder mobility, and a decreased ability to reach things at a level above the shoulder. All of these changes produce an increase stress and strain on the neck, upper back, and shoulders
Under the supervision of your PT, stretches and exercises have been shown to be effective treatments for this posture as well as a reduction in pain and headaches. 2,3,4 Melanie Massey Physical Therapy has locations in Shreveport, Ruston, West Monroe, and Monroe to help you improve your posture and reduce your symptoms.
1. Kapandji I. The Physiology of the Joints. Vol III. 6th ed. Churchill Livinstone; 2007.
2. Lee E, Lee S. Impact of Cervical Sensory Feedback for Forward Head Posture on Headache Severity and Physiological Factors in Patients with Tension-type Headache: A Randomized, Single-Blind, Controlled Trial. Med Sci Monit Int Med J Exp Clin Res. 2019;25:9572-9584. doi:10.12659/MSM.918595
3. Nobari M, Arslan S, Hadian M, Ganji B. Effect of Corrective Exercises on Cervicogenic Headache in Office Workers with Forward Head Posture. J Mod Rehabil. 2017;11(4):201-208.
4. Lee J-H. Effects of forward head posture on static and dynamic balance control. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(1):274-277. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.274
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