Do you dip your head down while using the phone? Most of us do. This seemingly innocent and common practice is actually extremely harmful. Our heads are generally around 12 lb when it's upright, or when it's inline with the centre of gravity; but once it's tilted forward, it gets heavier and heavier. We don't really notice it but it can weigh up to 5 times its weight when we are using our phone or we are looking down while cooking in the kitchen, for example.
Over time, we develop Head forward syndrome, also known as forward head posture, is a condition in which the head is positioned forward relative to the shoulders. This can cause strain on the neck and upper back muscles, leading to pain and discomfort. It also changes the shape of our spine and neck, leading to kyphosis.
If we don't do anything about it, eventually, gravity will win and the hunching gets worse and worse over time, until it becomes irreversible. Have you ever seen old people who are completely hunched over? It's an absolutely painful condition and their organs can't be functioning properly because when the spine is not straight, your brain is not communicating with the rest of your body properly and not enough blood can flow to their organs.
To correct head forward syndrome, yoga and Pilates poses that target the neck and upper back muscles, as well as proper posture during activities such as sitting, standing, and sleeping, can be helpful. Make sure that your pillow is not too high, use a standing desk and lift your phone and computer up to your eye level instead of dangling your head down. You can also consider the following:
Strengthen neck and upper back muscles: Strengthening exercises for the neck and upper back muscles can help improve posture and alleviate pain and discomfort.
Improve posture: Pay attention to your posture when standing, sitting, and walking. Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are aligned and your head is centered over your spine.
Use ergonomic equipment: Ensure that your workstation is ergonomically set up, with a comfortable chair and proper keyboard and mouse placement to reduce the strain on your neck and upper back.
Try using an inversion table or hang upside down for 15 minutes a day on a yoga trapeze to use gravity to straighten your spine.
Stretch regularly: Regular stretching can help improve posture, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve mobility.
Avoid prolonged forward head posture: Avoid activities that involve prolonged forward head posture, such as looking down at a mobile device for long periods.
Consider physical therapy or chiropractic care: If your symptoms persist, consider seeking professional help from a physical therapist or chiropractor. They can develop a customised treatment plan to address your specific needs and help improve your posture and reduce pain and discomfort.
Vicky is a certified yoga & Pilates teacher. Book a discovery call with her on vickyvortex.com/book-online to explore how you can correct your posture and get rid of neck and back pain.