Forward Head Posture aka “Text Neck”
In today’s world, (as much as we don’t like to admit it), many of our jobs require us to sit for extended periods of time. Persistent neck, upper back, shoulder, and shoulder blade pain are all characteristics of a poked neck, otherwise known as forward head posture or “text neck.” Pair that with the ways in which we use our smartphones and smart devices in almost every aspect of our lives and it is no surprise to see the rapid increase in people with poor posture, added stress and strain on the neck, shoulders, back, and increased visits to doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists trying to figure out why this is occurring.
Forward head posture is where the head position protrudes forward in relation to the shoulder joint. Our posture, the way we sleep, the added technology component of sitting at a computer the majority of the day, AND the use of our cell phones for texting, social media etc. is a bit daunting when we look at the health of the neck and back.
How Do I Know If I Have Forward Head Posture?
Easy! Stand up right now and place your back flat against a wall with your bottom, lower back, and shoulder blades completely against the wall (make sure you’re not cheating by over arching your back or looking up at the ceiling. Look straight ahead). While you are standing, does the back of your head naturally come in contact with the wall? If yes, good for you! However, if your head doesn’t come in contact with the wall, you are like the majority of patients that we see here at Keystone Physical Medicine, you’ve tested positive for forward head posture.
What Happens If I Don’t Fix It?
Forward head posture may be the reason for added strain, pressure, and tension on the neck muscles and joints, it reverses the cervical curve, and can lead to an increase in arthritis, a rapid rate of degeneration, and tension headaches. If left untreated, not only can symptoms become worse, but aesthetically, it can result in an unfavorable and hunched over appearance. Over time, this can cause muscles to shorten, and impair nerve function, all of which are very difficult to reverse (if at all) once in its advanced stages.
What Causes Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture is part of a bigger problem…and his name is bad posture. Our bodies were not designed for prolonged periods of sitting down or sedentary lifestyles. Our bodies adapt to different environments, and when we continually put ourselves in positions such as hours of sitting that are not optimal for our health, we are able to see the muscles that are responsible for good posture tighten, fatigue, and weaken. The body follows the head, so if you have forward head posture, you will find your shoulders hunching forward with it.
Treatment for forward head posture is best determined by a healthcare professional. At KPM, our integrated office approach combines Chiropractic Care, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Pain Management along with a Nurse Practitioner. All Physicians work together as a team to come up with the best course of care and customize a treatment plan based upon symptoms and severity. Although some do experience immediate relief, do not be discouraged if you do not see results right away. One thing we like to remind our patients of is this; think about how long it took for your forward head posture to develop, it is going to take some time for the damage to be reversed and for it to be corrected. Whether it is regular adjustments, physical therapy, massage, or pain management, we are confident we can bring you relief and ultimately get you back on track. We aim to inspire health through integrated and natural care. Give us a call, come see us, we are here to help!