Heavy Head Getting You Down?
Ironically, there’s every chance that you are tilting your head and neck forward right now while holding your phone/laptop and reading this blog post.
There is also a chance that you just realized it and you tried to straighten your neck. Good!
We have become increasing reliant on devices like phones and laptops as they play a very important role in our daily lives. A person spends 2 to 4 hours every day on an average using their phones, and this figure is even higher for teenagers. But with this increased reliance, there is growing concern about the effects associated with this practise, as more research has become available.
Chiropractors call this phenomenon Forward Head Posture – you may know it also as “Text Neck”.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Your body is designed to have your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles all aligned on top of one another. Forward Head Posture (or FHP for short) occurs when your head starts to move forward from its correct position, which allows you chin to move forward over your chest. This increases the pressure on the shoulders and the neck and can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
For every 1cm your head moves forward, it gains 2kgs in weight. The spine and muscles are forced to work extra hard which can result in an aching or burning neck or mid back that affects your sleep and you’ll find yourself waking up unrefreshed and unable to enjoy your day.
If left uncorrected, the bones, muscles and ligaments can change shape and become permanently deformed and arthritic. Your neck curve flattens out and a hump can develop at the base of your neck. You may have heard this called a Dowager’s Hump.
As the curve in your neck disappears the curve in your midback gets worse. This can result in up to a 30% reduction in the capacity of your lungs. Imagine what that does to your breathing!
Recent research has also shown that the loss of the curve in your neck also reduces the blood flow to your brain. No wonder you haven’t been thinking clearly either!
So What Can You Do To Fix It?
Well firstly, we need to look at how we use our devices….
· Bring your mobile phone or tablet to eye level when sending a message or searching the Internet.
· When talking on the phone, hold the phone to your ear instead of bending your neck sideways to hold the phone.
· If you make regular phone calls, utilize a headset with earphones and a microphone so you do not have to hold the phone to your ear for extended periods of time.
· When playing videogames, look straight ahead at the TV, computer, or other gaming device. Also, position yourself with proper posture while seated to reduce spinal strain.
· Position your computer screen at eye level so you aren't looking down at your computer for prolonged periods of time each day.
Then to help correct or prevent this we need to spend some time on both strengthening and stretching and we have the perfect exercise…..
The Squeeze and Down
· Put your arms by your side and turn your thumbs out, relaxing your shoulders. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw them down to the ground. Hold 15 seconds, rest 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
· Can you feel a stretch in your chest and a tightness between your shoulders?
· You got it! Now you are getting stronger where you need it most and stretching where you need it most too.
And lastly…… Get Help!
You want to know what your exact situation is and what you need to do specifically. You don’t want to spend months attempting to change your posture and accidentally be focusing on the wrong type of exercises for you, wasting time or even making your situation worse.
A check up might be what you need. This means some one on one time with us... · a thorough consultation
· spine, joint, nerve examination
· complete posture assessment (both digital and manual)
· and maybe a special kind of back x-ray so we can do some measurements
We try to find the cause of your problems and design a step by step solution to get you back to rocking your day with energy and vigour!