Anterior head carriage, forward head posture, text neck - are just a few of the descriptions of what is leading to a major health crisis. Believe it or not, our screen time is creating major problems! To be fair, it's not just the screen time on phones, but sitting as well. I'm sure you've either read or heard the statement, "...Sitting is the new smoking..." Sitting for extended amounts of time can create some bad habits and damage to your body, including leading to forward head posture. FHP can lead to breathing and digestive problems (just to name a few- see below...) but also creates multiple faulty movement patterns which can affect your neck range of motion, shoulder and hip function. If those areas aren’t moving as easy as you’d like, or if you’ve been experiencing neck, shoulder, hip or back pain (or want to prevent any of the above)- then read on.
Forward head posture (FHP) and the other names mentioned above all describe a resultant condition of the head falling ahead of the shoulders. The problem with the postural distortion created by FHP according to Rene Cailliet M.D., 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 [natural curve of the neck] ...”
In addition, research has shown forward head posture (FHP) to have other downstream effects, including:
* The entire gastrointestinal system (particularly the large intestine) may become agitated, resulting in sluggish bowel peristaltic function and evacuation.
* Hormonal dysfunction
* Mood and cognitive changes
* Spinal arthritis and degeneration (including the discs)
* Formation of Dowagers Hump (“Kyphosis”; “neck hump”; “hunchback”)
Here's the deal... Your coach/trainer and I can see how this affects your performance in the gym. It show's up when you're doing overhead movements, and can affect both your strength and shoulder mobility. Studies show FHP affects scapular motion, shoulder impingement, shoulder range of motion as well as muscular imbalances to surrounding muscles. Even if you can muscle through, and force the preferred range of motion, you're setting yourself up for damage, injury and inefficiency.
In addition to overhead movements, FHP can also affect your squat. For starters, if your head is in FHP, you've now shifted your center of gravity forward which can lead to an increase in energy expenditure and decrease in power output, which can show up with you constantly pushing off your toes and falling forward, instead of sitting back on your heels when in the squat. Not to mention the shearing stress that can land up on your low back and pelvis - for which they weren't designed... That type of shearing force is what leads to disc and facet injuries in the lower back. Bottom line, Pokemon neck (FHP) as it’s been recently named, does nothing positive for your workouts or overall health.
Clinically, when someone comes into our practice with shoulder issues I can almost guarantee that they have FHP involvement. On the flip side, when someone comes in with neck pain following a pressing (overhead or handstand) movement - I can guarantee the same thing. LET ME BE CLEAR - THE MOVEMENTS THEMSELVES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM! It's your posture that has created the problem. To help address and correct what has occurred, we place a major emphasis and focus on restoring proper function of the area in question while correcting FHP with the Reconnect Method of bio-structural correction.
So, rather than have you missing workouts and limping into our practice in pain because of an injury to your neck or shoulder complex, we’ve put a guide together that covers 5 valuable tips and home care that can help you get more out of your workouts, and prevent future health problems (we'd prefer to help you prevent injury in the first place)...
To get your Guide on How To Overcome Forward Head Posture, just fill out the form below and we'll get it sent to you.