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Your 60 Pound Head?

More than ever before, forward head posture (FHP), ‘text neck’, and ‘shneck pain’ are becoming a regular presentation in my Newmarket chiropractic clinic.  More alarming is that this is occurring in the younger population.  It is not uncommon to see 10-year-old with significant FHP. 

pre-teen with significant FHP

FHP is associated with early degenerative disc disease, headaches, arm and hand tingling, shoulder and neck pain, TMJD (jaw pain) and even diminished lung capacity just to mention a few.  This is a significant problem health concern, especially for our children.  It can no longer be ignored.  Children with this problem turn into adults with more severe consequences from poor neck posture.

Key Study

A study by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj MD at the New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine published an alarming study that highlighted the importance of looking down, neck posture and health.

“The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees.”

“In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished.  It is the most efficient position for the spine.”

“Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine (neck) leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine.  These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.”

picture from Kenneth Hansraj MD research paper

Up to 60 Pounds of Force

In fact, the study quantified the extra weight based on the amount of flexion in the neck and found that at 60 degrees of flexion (looking down), the spinal stress added the equivalent force of 60 pounds!  How long do you and your children stare down during the day?  The data suggests 2-4 hours/day.  With our lifestyle and technology, this will only become worse.

Your adult neck was only designed to withstand a 10-12-pound head.  Not a 27, 40, 49, or 60-pound head.  The tissues cannot withstand the constant stress of bad neck posture.  It can only result in a bad outcome over time – headaches, neck pain, stenosis, kyphosis, disc herniations and potentially future surgery.  It was even said by Rene Cailliet, MD that FHP can cause sluggishness in the bowel. 

None of those sound pleasant!

What can you do? Plenty.

  1. Be more posture aware by changing your posture frequently.
  2. Use a better position when on tablets or your phone.  Try this.
  3. Get a proper assessment of your neck, and if there is a problem stick with your corrective plan (adjustments, exercise, rehab, and traction) and get it fixed.

12-pound head or 60-pound head?  The choice is yours,

Newmarket chiropractor

P.S. Here is a quick video about the research mentioned above.

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