Smartphones are portable computers. We use them to catch up on the news, respond to emails, and scroll through social media. But technology has a price, and it looks like your neck is paying it.
Forward head posture (FHP) is when the position of your head is forward, with your ears in front of your body instead of in line with your shoulders. This position puts extra stress on your cervical spine, causing neck pain. Though FHP isn’t a new condition, increased use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops are making it a more common cause of neck pain.
At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine in Plano and Addison, Texas, our chiropractor, Dr. Trace Alexander, specializes in relieving chronic neck pain from FHP.
Here, we want to explain how the forward positioning of your head causes neck pain and how chiropractic care can help.
Your spine is designed in such a way that it evenly distributes the weight of your body to prevent too much stress on any one part when you sit, stand, and walk. However, you need good posture in order for this design to work.
Though poor posture may cause pain in any part of the body, your neck is especially vulnerable because it carries the weight of your head, which runs 10-12 pounds. Normal head posture, also called neutral head posture, is when your ears are in line with your shoulders. This positioning evenly distributes the weight of your head throughout your body.
When you look down at your phone or computer, you bend your head forward. This takes it out of its neutral position, placing extra stress on the cervical spine. In this bent position your 10- to 12-pound head feels more like 30-60 pounds to your neck.
If you spend hours at a time in this position scrolling through social media or responding to messages, it negatively affects the muscles (overuse of some and underuse of others), ligaments (overstretching), and vertebrae (misalignment) in your neck, creating an abnormality in the positioning of your head — forward head posture (FHP), causing your head to tilt forward.
The alignment of the spine is the main focus of chiropractic care. FHP creates a misalignment in the cervical spine, leading to chronic neck pain. We perform gentle spinal manipulation to restore the normal curvature of your spine, reducing your pain.
We may also try other pain management therapies such as acupuncture and massage therapy to help you get relief from your neck pain. Additionally, we give you exercises and stretches to strengthen the underused muscles and restore balance to your neck, improving its ability to support the weight of your head.
Chiropractic care can provide short-term relief from your pain, but you need to fix your posture to get the long-term benefits. When using electronic devices, keep your head in a neutral position to reduce stress and strain.
Instead of looking down at your phone, bring your phone up to eye level so your head remains in neutral position.
Also, create an ergonomic workspace that helps you maintain good posture when working. This means raising your computer screen so it’s at eye level and sitting in a supportive chair that has a headrest and armrests.
With chiropractic care, we can fix your forward head posture and your neck pain. Schedule an appointment by calling our office or using the online booking button.