A simple postural change that can eliminate headaches, neck pain, and tension

by admin

simple postural changePosture affects all human function, both consciously and unconsciously, from breathing to thinking. Most of us are familiar with the affects that posture has on mood. A classic example: If you stand with your back hunched over and your head down, you’ll begin to feel lousy. If you stand up tall with your shoulders back and chin up, you’ll begin to feel better. Not only does posture affect your mood, it affects the very function of your body as well.

Spinal Pain, headache, bloodpressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture. The corollary of these observations is that many symptoms, including pain maybe moderated or eliminated by improved posture.” Am. Journal of Pain Management Vol 4. #1 Jan 1994.

One of the most destructive postural problems is forward neck posture (or FHP). Forward neck posture typically occurs when a person lets their head fall forward, chin toward chest, on a regular basis. It tends to develop from poor reading or computing posture, sleeping with thick pillows under the head, or as a result of rear-end car accidents.

Why is FHP such a problem? It takes the natural curve out of the neck and significantly increases the stress on the spine, muscles, and discs. For every inch that your head is held forward, the compressive forces placed on the spine increase 100%. When the spinal discs and joints are subject to increased stress for a sustained period of time, they begin to deform, and permanent changes may occur. If left uncorrected, forward head posture can have serious health consequences.

“FHP leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, and pinched nerves” Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Vol.18, #3, March 2000.

Here’s how you can lessen the damaging effects of FHP.

First, seek chiropractic care! Chiropractic corrective care can significantly reduce the effects of forward head posture on the spine. Gentle adjustments to the spine can help reduce spinal misalignments, and restore the natural curve to your neck while nudging the head back over the shoulders. This significantly improves the integrity of the spine and nerve system.

Second, avoid the “chin-to-chest” posture while reading. Instead, keep your head up, use a bookstand, or simply bring reading material up to your eyes instead of your eyes down to the reading material.

Third, when using your computer, set the monitor at eye level so that when looking straight ahead, you gaze at the upper 1/3 of the monitor. Also, use a stand up clipboard or monitor clip for papers that you are working from so as to avoid bending and turning the neck to view papers that are flat on the desk. Many office supply stores have versions of paper stands or copy stands that attach to the computer monitor.

Forth, use a headset when talking on the phone to avoid a sideways kink of the neck which occurs when you sandwich the phone between your ear and shoulder.

Finally, when sitting for long periods of time, take a moment every 30 minutes or so to notice your posture. Then sit up straight, elevate your chest, and bring your head back over your shoulders. Every hour, get up from the chair and stand with your back against the wall. Turn your palms forward and lightly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Press the back of your head gently into the wall, hold for 5 seconds and relax. Walk away from the wall, but keep that chest elevated and head back over the shoulders. It’s gonna feel strange at first, but your body will get used to it.


Maintaining good posture is a lifelong commitment. And it’s worth it!
By making a few small changes in your posture and having great chiropractic care, you’re more likely to avoid the damage and degeneration that comes with postural neglect, and instead have a healthy spine to carry you through a lifetime!

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