Forward head posture (FHP) is one of the most common postural problems. Things like driving, computer work, watching TV, playing video games and even carrying bags and backpacks have forced the body to shift forward. The body will remember an action, neurologically and muscularly, when it is done repetitively and eventually gravitate towards that action or posture even if it causes pain or dysfunction. Trauma due to injuries like whiplash can also contribute. FHP can actually flatten the natural curvature of the neck leading to fatigue, tight muscles, TMJ (jaw) pain and headaches. Left untreated it can also inhibit blood flow to the spinal cord, cause numbness in the arms and contribute to early degeneration and arthritis.
Here are a few things you can do keep a good head on your shoulders!
- The top 3rd of computer and video screens should be level with your eyes and 18″ – 24″ from your face.
- Stand against a wall with a small pillow at your midback. Move your head back to touch the wall. Hold for 3 counts & do 20-25 reps. This exercise will help to re-train muscles and properly align the spine. In the car, it can be done while you’re waiting at stoplights!
- Using a back support while sitting or driving reinforces the low back curve and helps bring the head back over the shoulders.
- Maximum backpack weight should not exceed 15% body weight, especially in children. Never carry backpacks over just one shoulder and always use the waist & chest belt to neutralize the load. If you must carry a heavy shoulder bag, alternate sides often.