Often times in life we tend to get ahead of ourselves. As children we want to, and are prodded to be “big” boys and girls, we get ahead of ourselves. At times words leap out of our mouths that we did not intend, we get ahead of ourselves. We enter into circumstances we do not fully understand,o all because we get ahead of ourselves. Having an in-depth understanding of where you are and where you want to be can be a great equalizer to this omnipresent challenge of living in the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves. This postulation is not limited to the intellectual and emotional decisions we make, it is easily seen in our posture and movement patterns which are inseparable from your state of health and well-being.
Perhaps no postural aberration expresses itself as often as forward head posture (FHP). Our daily habits of sitting at a computer, sitting in a vehicle, and sitting in front of the TV are all major contributors to FHP, but they are not exclusive causes. We must also take a look at vision as the body will accommodate posture to an overly dominant eye. We must listen in on the vestibular system. The ear canal is a major component of posture. We must breathe with awareness as the body will compensate heavily to a nasal passage blockage and diaphragmatic dysfunction.
When assessing FHP we look for an average of 3.3 cm (Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 2nd edition David Magee). On average the human head weighs 10 pounds(http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/DmitriyGekhman.shtml). For every 1 inch your head moves forward, the relative weight of the head over the body doubles due to the effects of gravity. (http://www.bakerchiropractic.org/pain-relief/pain-from-forward-head-posture/). This strain occurs due to the fact that as the head protrudes forward the cranium rotates posteriorly on the first and second cervical vertebrae . This causes a weakening of the hyoid muscles which are largely responsible for resisting posterior cranial rotation. As the hyoid muscles weaken, the rectus capitis, upper trapezius, and the sternocleidomastoids tend to strengthen and
hypertrophy (grow in size). This uneven pull often times creates headaches, jaw pain, shoulder and neck pain. These pains are warning signals that something has gone array.
So how is it that a muscular imbalance can create a health problem? First we must recognize that the body is completely connected via the facial system. Every organ is “double wrapped” in facia, this facia shares direct connections to muscular tissue. A change in the length/tension relationship in the muscular system will lead to a direct change in the pull of the facia on the organ. Organs are pressure sensitive, that is, compressing an organ has a direct effect on the function of the organ. (http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/247/3/R552.short). The human body functions as a system of systems. When one recognizes the body as such true healing can begin. I deal with FHP every day and I can tell you that if you do not address your entire lifestyle from how you sit to what you eat your chances of dealing with FHP, or any other postural issue are slim to none.
I encourage you all to take an honest look at your posture, keeping in mind that postural aberrations are more than skin deep.
BS Exercise Science, CHEK 2, MTA 1