The human head weighs about 12 lbs. It’s balanced by the muscles of the neck and shoulders on top of your spinal column. The spinal portion of the neck forms a 40-degree curve and functions as a shock absorber. That curve provides your muscles the leverage to hold and easily balance your head on your shoulders.
The amount of weight supported increases dramatically with every inch you bend your head forward or down. At one inch forward, your neck is supporting 24 lbs; at three inches, it’s supporting 48 lbs. Imagine trying to walk around while looking at your feet all day — your neck and shoulders would be throbbing with pain!
Millions of people, especially youth, experience this phenomenon as they stare at their smartphones, tablets, and gaming devices every day for hours. It becomes instinctual for them to relax the muscles in their necks and shoulders and rest literally on their spinal joints, weakening the muscles and ligaments. Forward head posture and rounding of the shoulders and upper back are the result. Eventually, even standing or sitting up straight becomes difficult for them!
Researchers and clinicians know that poor posture leads to significant damage to spinal structures, such as discs, joints, and nerves. “Text neck” may also lead to chronic neck pain, headaches, disc herniation, extremity pain, and, in severe cases, surgery to fuse the damaged area. Heart and lung conditions related to this posture may also arise.
What people often fail to realize is that the most serious symptoms are usually the last thing to appear in this process of postural degeneration and decay. Much like a trip to the dentist is frequently needed to find cavities and prevent more serious tooth conditions, it’s important not to wait for headaches and back pain to surface before taking preventive action. Proactive chiropractic checkups — including thorough examinations and digital X-rays — can detect a spinal degenerative condition before it becomes a serious health concern.
Smartphone and tablets aren’t going away anytime soon, and if anything, the conditions of the neck and spine they cause are bound to become even more prevalent. The chiropractors at Scoliosis Center of Utah have been successfully treating forward head posture for 20 years. We’re familiar with the condition and understand the nuances of treating it.
- Kenneth Hansnaj, MD Chief of Spine Surgery, Ny Spine surgery and rehabilitation medicine, National Library of Medicine, 2015
- Spine (peer-reviewed medical journal)
- Dr. Alf Breig, MD neurosurgeon and Nobel Prize recipient discovered that a loss of the cervical curve can stretch the spinal cord.
- American Geriatric Society