What is Forward Head Posture? 

Forward Head Posture or FHP, is the most common postural distortion we experience today. Since we live in a forward-facing world, the repetitive use of cell phones, laptops, video games, and even backpacks contribute to this unhealthy posture. The condition usually begins after some type of trauma that can come in many forms and often occurs during childhood. It is made worse through adulthood with poor ergonomics and repetitive bent forward postures. Initial causes can include:

  • Traumas from sports such as football, hockey, skiing, lacrosse, soccer, etc.
  • Auto accidents
  • Falls from bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and high places

These traumas may be considered minor at the time, but can cause spinal misalignments that heal improperly, setting the stage for a progressive forward head posture and poor postural health.  Chiropractic adjustments can help correct these spinal misalignments, and corrective traction care restore you to a normal, straight posture.

Why is good posture important?

Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on our spine and supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture: 

  • Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
  • Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
  • Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain

The specifics of FHP

The weight of the average adult’s head is approximately the weight of a bowling ball.  Ideally, your head should sit directly over your shoulders. And although we take it for granted, we are constantly challenged to hold it up because of the effects of gravity.  Just think of how your head drops when you are falling asleep sitting up in a chair.

With FHP, for every inch your head is forward over your shoulders, it increases the physical stress at the base of your neck and across your shoulders by 10 times. For example, if your head weighs 10 pounds, and your head is 2 inches forward, that’s 20 pounds of stress in your upper back and neck!  Because the neck and shoulders have to carry this weight all day, and is made worse by cell phone and laptop use, prolonged periods of reading, playing video games, etc., the neck and upper back muscles remain in a state of constant contraction. 

This can result in muscle strain, aching neck pain, headaches, pinched nerve, numbness and tingling in arms and hands, low back pain, TMJ disorders, and multiple other syndromes. In addition, FHP has been shown to flatten the normal neck curve, causing spinal disc compression, and may result in damage and spinal degeneration.

Why is FHP Bad?

Forward Head Posture places undue constant stress on your spine and nervous system. Uncorrected FHP can result in permanent damage to the spine over time.  Unfortunately, despite all the evidence that poor posture affects overall health, this problem is not addressed by most physicians, or even many chiropractors.

Is FHP Correctable by any Chiropractor?

No, not every chiropractor is trained to correct this problem, and in fact, most are not.  Dr. Barrick is certified in Chiropractic Biophysics, and specializes in FHP correction. He has helped hundreds of patients with this problem over the years.

Actual before and after X-RAYS of one of our patients

Now THAT’S a great posture!