Our Enfield osteopaths know about the importance of posture, poor posture indicates that the body is not aligned as it should be. When the body is misaligned, the functional and structural stresses placed on the muscles, joints, nerves and organs can result in:
- Muscle tension
- Joint wear and tear
- Inter-vertebral disc degeneration
- Decreased energy levels and fatigue
- Decreased respiratory and cardiovascular output
The most common postural problem is called Forward Head Posture or FHP. FHP is characterized by the forward displacement of the head, causing the shoulders to roll forward and the upper back to hunch. Over time this leads to a swaying forward of the hips and hollowing of the low back.
Pain, Tension & Headaches
When muscles are worked beyond their capacity, lactic acid is formed. You experience this as a cramping or burning sensation across the mid-back, shoulders, neck or even in the form of headaches. People with FHP tend to experience tension headaches, neck pain, pain across the shoulders or between the shoulder blades. .
Diminished Breathing Ability
There are two main reasons why a forward head posture affects the respiratory system. Firstly, when the head moves forward you begin to use a group of muscles called scalene as a primary respiratory muscle. These muscles are located in the neck and their excessive use results in very shallow breathing and a lower volume of oxygen in the body.
The second reason is due to the structural changes in the chest wall. When the head moves forward and shoulders roll in, the chest cavity hollows. When the chest wall compresses down on the lungs, the diaphragm can’t work appropriately, resulting in significantly reduced breathing capacity.
Try it yourself, roll your shoulders forward, push your head forward and try and take a deep breath.
Forward Head Posture IS NOT an unavoidable part of ageing
Like other health issues such as tooth decay or heart disease, forward head posture can be influence by neglect and wrong lifestyle choices. Aging alone is not enough, although the older you are, the longer your body has been subjected to the stress of repetitive strains that cause and exacerbate health issues. As with all health issues, early detection and intervention is key to reduce the risk of serious complications. Often the longer the problem goes untreated, the worse it will become.
What are the Causes of Forward Head Posture?
Poor posture is caused by many different factors. here is just a couple:
The largest contributor to FHP is lifestyle, the most common being those due to new technologies. Technology in today’s society has evolved our way of living, but not our bodies. Extended computer use has developed into a major cause of FHP.
Laptops, IPads and Smart Phones are becoming more commonly used today than desktop PC’s. While most desktop workstations have some degree of ergonomic set-up, smaller devices tend to be used in positions that will predispose to FHP. It’s no wonder young people are the fastest growing population of neck pain sufferers and why FHP is now common amongst school children.
Sports Injuries, RTA’s, & Accidents
Sports injuries, road traffic accidents, whiplash, even mild trips and falls can all influence posture and lead to FHP. The body can assume FHP as an adaptive position during the acute inflammatory phase following injury. The FHP may remain even after the problem has resolved.
So what’s the answer?
GD Osteopathy & Sports Massage’s Posture Training Method – You don’t have to live with bad posture, pain or the health implications that go with it. Poor posture doesn’t have to be a life sentence. When you correct and improve your posture, you’ll look and feel younger and taller.
Concentrating on standing up straight is not the answer, it’s not that simple. Poor posture is caused by physical changes in your spine and muscles, along with alterations in neural control of muscle tone and length. This makes it virtually impossible to get in a good postural position, let alone hold it for more than a few minutes.
What’s your posture like? Find out at the Enfield Posture Clinic.