I recently read a blog by chiropractor Dr. Mindy Pelz called Is Your Posture Killing You? She shared 6 Dangers of Forward Head Syndrome from Rene Caillet, M.D.'s book The Rejuvenation Strategy. I'll briefly summarize. They are:
6 Dangers of Forward Head Posture
- Leads to improper spinal function.
- Can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine.
- Results in loss of vital lung capacity. In fact, lung capacity is depleted by as much as 30 percent. Loss of lung capacity leads to heart and blood vascular problems.
- Affects the entire gastrointestinal system, particularly the large intestine. Loss of good bowel peristaltic function and evacuation is a common condition that comes with forward head posture and loss of spinal lordotic curves.
- Causes an increase in discomfort and pain. Freedom of motion in the first four cervical vertebrae is a major source of stimuli that causes production of endorphins in production many otherwise non-painful sensations are experienced as pain.
- Causes loss of healthy spine-body motion. The entire body becomes rigid as the range of motion lessens.
In her blog, Dr. Pelz points out that:
"90% of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body to gravity. Only 10% of the brain’s energy is used for thinking, metabolism, and healing. If you want to improve your body and brain’s performance start with better posture."
I AGREE! If you want to improve your body and brain's performance start with better posture. Dr. Pelz then goes on to offer her suggested 5 solutions to improve Forward Head Posture.
- Be aware
- Stretch your front side
- Strengthen your back
- Try a yoga class
- Go see your chiropractor
I think those are all great suggestions, except that in my opinion, at best these 5 suggestions will only help ALLEVIATE the SYMPTOMS of forward head position. In fact, I'll go further and say that the most important solution is MISSING!
I believe that the number one solution to address and correct the dangers of forward head posture is:
Corrective Exercise for Posture Restoration!
Corrective exercise is much more effective because it isolates the ROOT CAUSE of WHY the head has moved forward and out of position in the first place. Unless you IDENTIFY, ADDRESS and CORRECT the reason why the head has moved forward, all attempts to correct it will keep you in a cyclical pain relief pattern.
"Bones will go where muscles tell them to"
~ Pete Egoscue
Now, to be very clear, I'm not at all against chiropractic, increasing awareness, yoga or stretching. They are all effective tools and can help. Postural therapy is different because we get your muscles balanced which moves bones back into a better postural alignment reflecting your "blue-print" design.
This explains why chiropractic clients have to continue treatment on a regular basis. Repositioning the bones without addressing the underlying root cause of why the bones moved in the first place keeps you in a symptom cycle.
There certainly are very gifted chiropractors out there who are able to get the adjustments done and move your bones back into better position. We love that! But...
The muscles attached to those bones have a motor memory pattern that continues to pull those bones back out of the correct position. Now if bones go where muscles tell them to, this is where postural therapy fills the gap.
While you may temporarily feel better for a period of time after an adjustment, yoga or stretching, the muscle memory and motor pattern has not been corrected. It's only a matter of time until you're back to square one, back in pain, out of alignment and back for the adjustments.
Because the root cause of why the bones have moved in the first place have not been retrained, the postural muscles which should hold the corrections are in conflict with the adjustments.
A well designed Corrective Exercise program like The BioMechanics Method, National Posture Institute or Egoscue University Certified Posture Alignment Therapy ALL addresses the ROOT CAUSE of your postural imbalances. We analyze your posture as it presents relative to "blue-print" design.
When you hire a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist you get a series of corrective exercise menus designed and taught to you to address your unique postural needs. Each menu will build upon the last and will help re-train your muscles and motor memory to hold the correct posture alignment positions.
Your chiropractic results will improve because you'll be proactively re-training your muscles to hold your bones in the proper alignment. So instead of just managing the symptom of forward head syndrome, you can CORRECT IT!
You'll feel better, your posture will improve and you'll have less pain. That makes for a happier person and the best part is it will come from YOU taking an active role in your own health care. And that's a real solution worth striving for!