“Stand up straight!” Who of us hasn’t had that shouted by a parent, teacher, or another adult when we were kids. Who knew just how important that advice would be throughout life? We’re going to discuss the effects of poor posture on neck pain, some areas to be particularly careful of when it comes to posture, and we will conclude with a way to get proper posture to feel more natural if you have spent a good part of your life with a forward head position.
Poor Posture and Neck Pain
The neck is responsible for balancing the weight of the head. Since the average human head weighs 10-12 pounds, that is no small task to begin with. However, we can make the job of the neck even more difficult by adopting poor posture.
The greater degree a person leans the head forward, the more pressure is placed on the vertebrae and the surrounding soft tissue. For example:
- At a 15-degree angle, stress on the neck reaches 27 pounds
- At a 30-degree angle, stress on the neck is at 40 pounds
- A 45-degree angle places 49 pounds of pressure on the neck
- At a 60-degree angle, the neck is compressed by 60 pounds of stress
As you can see, every little bit counts when it comes to leaning the head forward. In fact, a forward head position can double the amount of pressure on the neck for each inch that the head is resting in front of the shoulders instead of directly above them, so maintaining the proper curvature of the neck and keeping the shoulders from rolling forward are vital for cervical spine health.
Let’s look at a few modern scenarios that can lead to poor posture and neck pain.
Office Work and Neck Aches
If you are an office worker, your neck ache may stem from your posture at your desk. Many people fail to keep monitors at eye level. This means that you will have to look down slightly all day long. As you can see from the bullet points above, even a 15-degree angle can result in significant changes to the work the neck has to do. We also have a tendency to slump our shoulders when working over a desk. The results of poor posture can be premature wear and tear on the neck, misalignments, and stiffness or pain.
Text Neck – How Technology Is Destroying Posture
A 15-degree angle is bad enough, but how far do you usually crane your neck when checking a text or using a mobile device in other ways? Most of us probably don’t hold the device high enough to maintain a zero-degree angle or even a 30-degree angle. At 60 degrees, your neck is being subjected to a lot of extra strain, and that occurs over and over again throughout the day since most people check their phone every few minutes.
Finding Natural Relief from Neck Pain
One great way to remove some of the stress from the neck and to get the healing process started is to correct the posture issues. Make sure that monitors are set at the correct height. Hold mobile devices higher when you do check them and try to check them less frequently throughout the day. Some people have tried having technology-free times such as during meals or when in bed for the night.
However, if you have not addressed any underlying damage done by the poor posture, simply correcting your habits won’t make all of the soreness go away. In fact, the spine may be locked into a stressed position where it now feels more natural to sit with a slump or to keep your head tilted forward all the time.
If that describes your situation, what can help you to correct your neck position and get back to where proper posture will feel good and not just be good for you? We’d like to introduce you to a subspecialty in the chiropractic field that may be of assistance.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Neck Pain
If you have never heard of upper cervical chiropractic before, here are a few things that set us apart:
- Focus – We are strictly focused on the top two bones in the neck, the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis). Since these are the primary balance system for the neck, any misalignments here can create changes along the rest of the neck and even down into the back.
- Precision – Using modern diagnostic imaging techniques, precise measurements are taken of the misalignment. Then an adjustment is tailored to meet your specific needs. Because the adjustments are very precise, they are also extremely gentle. There is no twisting or popping of the spine. Thus, upper cervical care is safe for those of any age.
- As-needed – Adjustments are provided on an as-needed basis. At the beginning of each visit, you will get a physical examination that may involve checking leg length, hip levels, shoulder levels, or other means of determining if a misalignment exists. If your adjustment is holding, you won’t get an obligatory adjustment. You may also be able to space your visits out more, making this a cost-effective form of care.
If you experience chronic neck aches and pains, upper cervical chiropractic may be just the natural approach that you have been searching for. Schedule an examination today to learn if you are suffering from an upper cervical subluxation that could be at the root of your pain.