Neck Pain. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to experience it, it’s terrible. It usually starts off as “no big deal” and little by little, it starts to eat away at you. It becomes part of your day, every day. If it’s bad enough, it consumes your thoughts until all you think about is your neck pain and how you wish it would just go away. These same people will also tell you that having neck pain often disrupts their day and interferes with things they want or must do and all they want is to be “normal” again. It’s usually at this point that most will seek out a solution.
At Wellness Solution Centers in Newtown, PA, we see people in pain like this every single day and here’s why: Bad Posture. Posture is the window to the spine. Whatever the posture looks like on the outside, the spine look the same on the inside.
One of the most common postures we see is called Forward Head Posture (FHP). Simply put, it’s when your ears are shifted in front of your shoulders. For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. The interpretation? If your head weighs 10 pounds, your neck muscles need enough strength to hold up 10 pounds if your posture is balanced. However, when your head is held 2 inches in front of the balance line, the amount of stress placed on the neck muscles is equivalent to 10 times 2 inches, or 20 pounds! (1)
In addition to FHP putting pressure on the spinal joints, it also strains all the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your entire frame. In most cases of FHP, there is also a loss of the curve of the neck. FHP has been shown to flatten the normal neck curve, resulting in disc compression, damage and early arthritis. Nobel Prize Winning Neurosurgeon Dr. Alf Brieg says loss of the cervical curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes disease. Long-term forward neck posture leads to long-term muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves (2)
In addition to neck pain, people who have FHP can experience the following symptoms: Chronic pain in the shoulders, upper, lower and middle back, rounded shoulders, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, fatigue, teeth clenching, arthritis, pinched nerves, decrease in the range of motion, headaches and migraines, asthma, myofascial pain syndrome, muscle spasms, numbness or tingling in the hands and arms, and arthritis. (3)
If you have Forward Head Posture and Neck Pain, chiropractic adjustments should be performed to restore the alignment and curves of the spine. Exercises and cervical traction may be used to facilitate the correction of the posture and curve of the neck.
It is important to have your spine evaluated periodically, so that any deviations can be detected before permanent damage develops. If you are already experiencing any of the above symptoms, we urge you to have your spine evaluated right away so that you may begin a plan of correction.