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Here’s What Happens When You Have a Forward Head Posture

Posture is one of the most important (and controllable) factors affecting personal health. Good posture can contribute to a healthy, well-aligned spine and nervous system. Bad posture, however, can lead to a number of health concerns, from back pain, to mood swings, to headaches, and far beyond.

Forward head posture (FHP) is a common type of improper posture that can cause a range of adverse health outcomes. Typically, the cases of FHP we see at Advanced Spine and Posture bring our Las Vegas, NV patients in with complaints of muscle fatigue and more serious conditions, like temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).

Common health effects of forward head posture

Because the cervical spine is such a critical area in regards to posture, FHP easily causes a number of health concerns, including the following:

  • Spinal stress: Over time, FHP can cause stress to the spinal column and lead to pinched nerves.
  • Hunched back: Typically, people experiencing FHP also hunch their shoulders and round their upper back, resulting in even more discomfort.
  • Reduced mobility: FHP may eventually cause reduced mobility, making it difficult to move the neck.
  • Muscle imbalances: FHP will eventually cause some muscles in the neck, spine and shoulders to become overly tight and others to become overly loose.
  • TMJ: This painful and uncomfortable condition frequently accompanies FHP. If left untreated, it can result in a number of adverse health outcomes.

Typical causes of forward head positioning

There are a range of potential causes of FHP that affect people of all ages and professions, though office workers are ultimately more susceptible to this condition. Here are just some of the most common sources of FHP and its related side-effects:

  • Trauma: Whiplash, caused by car accidents, falls and other sources of trauma, can cause FHP. During the recovery period, you may extend your neck to alleviate pain. In the long-run, this can cause long-term pain and health concerns.
  • Backpacks: Children are particularly susceptible to FHP caused by weighty backpacks. Many school bags now weigh as much as 30 pounds! Children may use their heads to counterbalance the weight of the backpack.
  • Computer use: People who use computers extensively for work are often at risk of FHP. This often occurs when computer screens are positioned too low, or when they frequently bend their head down to read the screen.
  • Entertainment: Extensive time in front of television and video game screens can also cause FHP. Children and adults are likely to crane their head toward the screen while playing video games or binge-watching television shows.

Possible approaches to addressing FHP

Unlike many other chronic spinal problems that may result in permanent damage, FHP is a treatable, repairable condition. Here are some ways that you can start treating FHP symptoms:

  • Adjust screen positions: Elevating your screen position can help you reduce FHP. Move the screen so that the top third of the screen is level with your eyes.
  • Use a back support pillow: Whenever you’re seated, position a pillow at your low back to support your spinal column.
  • Take regular stretch breaks: Every 30 minutes, take a break from your computer and perform a series of stretches on your neck and spine.
  • Seek chiropractic care: Seek out the assistance of a professional chiropractor. Working with a qualified professional can help you develop a specialized treatment regimen.

Advanced Spine and Posture is a Las Vegas chiropractic clinic specializing in the treatment of FHP and other spinal column-related conditions. Call us today to learn more about ways we can help you overcome the adverse effects of poor posture using our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to patient care.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.

Clicking in Your Neck Could be a Telling Sign for a Bigger Issue

As we age, our joints weaken, and things stop working how they used to. Cracking and popping noises may appear one day, but their routine appearance often results in us drowning them out and thinking they are “normal.” One common symptom adults tend to report to our chiropractic team at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV is a clicking or cracking sound when they turn their heads to the side.

Because this noise may not always be accompanied by any severe neck pain, you may think nothing of it and continue about your day. But these clicking noises are not to be ignored. They actually may indicate cartilage damage in the neck or another problem that should be treated to prevent pain or injury.

What’s causing the cracking?

There are a few different reasons why your neck might be clicking or cracking, and some are more serious than others. The cervical spine (neck) is made up of numerous vertebrae and discs with facet joints between them, along with muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Clicking or cracking sensations or sounds may be originating from a combination of these many integrated parts.

The occasional crack is usually not a big deal. These cracks might happen because of a buildup of gas bubbles within your joints that get released with movement. If you move your neck and it cracks, but you can’t crack it again until later and you don’t feel any pain, you probably don’t need to worry.

However, if you can crack your neck repeatedly with movement, and/or you begin to feel pain, stiffness, or swelling following the cracking, there may be an underlying issue you need to address.

Concerns about neck cartilage

The most likely reason you’re hearing a clicking is because of damage to the cartilage in your neck. Cartilage is a smooth and elastic-feeling tissue that covers the ends of your facet joints and absorbs shock when you move. Over time, this cartilage can get worn down and damaged, typically because of a condition like osteoarthritis.

When cartilage gets damaged, it loses its smooth texture and thins out, making movement across the cartilage less easy and gentle. The clicking or grinding you feel when you move your neck is called crepitus and is caused by the rough movement of damaged cartilage and bones grating on bones.

Osteoarthritis can become severely painful and debilitating if it continues to degenerate your cartilage, potentially leading to increased swelling, stiffness, and immobility. If you feel pain or experience stiffness or swelling in combination with neck crepitus, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Treating cracking in the neck

There is no set cure for crepitus or its underlying conditions like osteoarthritis. However, you may be able to find relief from pain by visiting a chiropractor.

Through our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) technique, gentle manipulations of the cervical spine, stretches, and exercises led by one of the chiropractors at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV may help with pain management and lead to improved mobility of the neck.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.