Do you find yourself on your tablet, computer, cell phone or other hand held device more and more? Have you noticed, or even worse, have others noticed that your posture has gotten worse over the years? At Team Health Care Clinic, we have seen an incredible increase in injuries and pain from what is commonly called “Text Neck,” “Computer Neck,” or Forward Head Posture. If not corrected, it leads to stubborn neck pain, upper and lower back pain, headaches, shoulder pain and even poor breathing. It later can lead to bulging and eventually degenerative disc disease. How can a forward head posture create all of these conditions?
The problem with Forward Head Posture
We first need to consider that the head is a 10-pound weight sitting on the top of the spine if one has ideal, perfect posture. However, for every inch one’s head moves forward, we add 10 pounds of adjusted weight to the neck and back. So a patient with one-inch forward head posture is applying 20 pounds of weight to the neck and back musculature, vertebra and discs. Two inches forward is 30 pounds of weight and so forth.
Hour after hour, day after day, this extra strain creates an accumulative injury. Vertebral misalignment, knotted muscles and damaged discs eventually develop. The body tries to compensate by altering posture and kinetics, resulting in injuries in the low back, shoulders and arms as well.
This has become an epidemic due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and poor posture. Fortunately, at Team Health Care Clinic, our combination of providers developed a unique Forward Head Posture (FHP) rehab program that has proven success.
How does it work?
The FHP program incorporates principles from The Pettibon System, the experience of our chiropractors, and the expertise of our physical therapists. In addition to regular chiropractic adjustments, the patient is engaged in rehab “stations” each time they come in. These stations may include, forward head posture supine traction, standing traction, an innovative rehab chair with a weighted head band, and more. The 20-30 minute treatments are pleasant and not particularly strenuous, just precise for this condition.
Are you a candidate?
The success is high due to our patient selection process. A patient starts with neck x-rays to determine if they have a forward head posture. This requires the doctor to make a series of measurements that is reviewed with the patient. If the measurements confirm the condition, a second x-ray is taken while wearing a rehab, weighted head band.
This x-ray determines if the patient’s neck responds well to the procedure. If the x-ray demonstrates some immediate improvement, it gives the doctor more certainty that the patient will respond permanently with the full FHP program. Approximately 5-10% of patients will be screened out. Midpoint and final x-rays are performed to determine the patients progress.
If you suspect you have worsening posture, start with neck x-rays and determine if you are even a candidate for the program. If you are already a patient, we may be able to use your previous x-rays as a starting point. Don’t wait until there are signs of damage from years of strain to your neck and back.