Do You Sit All Day In Front Of A Computer?
Are Your Kids Playing Video Games For Long Periods Of Time?
If you answered, yes, to either of these questions you are a prime candidate for developing what is termed, Forward Head Posture. Forward Head Posture grows more and more pronounced as the time passes with continued bad posture when standing and sitting. The long term outcome from playing video games for long periods of time or from sitting in front of your computer for long periods day after day is likely Dowager’s Hump.
Dr. Elizabeth Welch shared this recent article with the Chiropractic Journal on Forward Head Posture and its likely outcomes whether you are male or female. Poor posture today will definitely be a problem for you tomorrow.
Forward Head Posture (FHP) is a condition where the head extends out in front of the shoulders creating an insidious breakdown of the musculoskeletal system throughout the entire spine. In a “normal” posture, the middle of the shoulder should align with the external auditory meatus. While detecting FHP in a patient is a simple process, correcting it is another thing altogether.
FHP affects much of the population – men and women, adults and children, alike. Whether due to computer ergonomics, carrying a heavy backpack, a weak core, or trauma causing muscle imbalance, the fact is that the public is more affected by FHP today than ever before.
When a child carries a heavy, book-laden backpack, the head is forced forward to counter balance the weight, resulting in abnormal stress to the discs, joints, nerves of the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Positioning computer screens too low, coupled with the repetitive motion of moving the head forward to read the screen, is another primary cause of FHP.
When kids play video games or watch TV in poor posture, the repetition of sitting in one position for long periods of time causes the body to adapt to this bad posture. In fact, the bent-over posture of a 60-year-old woman with a dowager’s hump, has its seeds in the posture of a 16-year-old girl slumping in front of a TV or computer for hours on end.
Despite ample evidence that posture affects physiology, function and balance, the medical community does not give FHP proper attention. We in the chiropractic community, on the other hand, see this potentially devastating condition for what it is – a true malady. (“Forward Head Posture leads to long-term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.” Mayo Clinic Health vol 18 #3 Mar2000.)
We can treat this condition with an “active care program.” This is great not only for the patient’s health and well-being, but it can also significantly contribute to your income streams. Part of your active care program should include a self-help component, so you empower your patients for a lifetime of good health.
Although it’s great to have systems in place that utilize a variety of different therapeutic exercises when billing for active care services, if your emphasis is on using exercise machines – or even bands, Bosus’, balls, etc. – the patient can only benefit while in your office, as it relates to changing muscle memory and reducing FHP. That is, if you’re even focusing on reducing FHP and core strengthening. If not, your patients are missing out on this huge benefit of care, postural improvement.
In addition to providing active care in the office, teach your patients how to properly exercise key posture muscles when at home, in the gym, or at work. This will result in changing muscle memory to achieve and sustain a neutral neck, as well as shoulders that are loose and upright, and at the same time develop a stronger core. We all want this result!
The exercise program should address the following five aspects of fitness that all work together for good health:
- strength (supports calcium uptake)
- posture (or balance).
Read the entire article from the Chiropractic Journal here to find out more about Wellness and discover how you can avoid Foward Head Posture…..