Contributed by Dr. Tara Workman
Do you ever feel like your head doesn't sit straight on your body? Do you remember your mother always telling you to stand up straight? Does posture really make a difference in your health? Research studies are showing that when your head is misaligned forward, also termed forward head posture (FHP) or "text neck", can lead to chronic problems and early onset of arthritis in the neck.
What are the symptoms associated with text neck? Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition to looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to upper back pain ranging from a chronic nagging pain to sharp severe upper back muscle spasms. Then you compromise structural integrity of the cervical spine, its curvature and its supporting ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones.
If your cervical nerve becomes pinched, the pain and possible neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand. It can cause numbness, tingling and even muscle weakness to where you can't even hold up a cup of coffee in your hand. More importantly FHP result in loss of vital capacity of the lungs by as much as 30%. The shortness of breath can lead to heart and blood vascular disease.
A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages of 18 and 44 have their cellphones with them almost all of the time with only two hours of their waking day spent without their cellphone on hand. The human head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds.
However a study conducted at New York Spine and Rehab Medicine found that as a neck bend forward the weight exerted on the cervical spine increases if a person is bent forward at a 15° angle the weight on the spine is around 27 pounds, at a 30° angle it is 40 pounds and a 60° angle the weight is about 60 pounds. To give you an idea of what 60 pounds feels like, imagine having an eight year old child strapped around your neck for a couple hours every day.
On an average, people spend 2-4 hours bent over their phones per day; that adds up to anywhere between 700 and 1,400 hours of stress on your cervical spine every year. Teenagers who are in high school are the worst since they spend an extra 5,000 hours per year in this position.
Chiropractic care is an excellent way to realign and rehabilitate forward head posture. Dr. Tara Workman at Altair Chiropractic, specializes in realigning and remodeling your posture starting with the head and neck. Start your new year off improving your health with getting your head on straight.