The dangerous health effects of forward head posture
If we only come into forward head posture once in a while, it’s not a big deal. But when we’re in this posture every day, for multiple hours a day, our nervous system notices.
Our nervous system likes to be as efficient as possible, so when we repeat a posture over and over, it will begin to keep the muscles involved in that posture partially contracted all the time. This is the process of developing muscle memory; it saves us time and conscious brainpower, but it results in chronic muscle tension, reduced sensorimotor awareness, and a host of health problems.
Without conscious intervention, muscle tension and our resulting posture only get worse with time. Our proprioception adjusts so that we feel more and more comfortable in the unnatural posture, and our gamma loop adjusts to maintain increasing levels of muscle tension.
Tight neck muscles can be sore and painful, and they contribute to headaches and temporomandibular joint disorders. Chronic muscle tension in the cervical spine also compresses the cervical vertebrae. This often leads to disc degeneration, bulging or herniated discs, osteoarthritis, Dowager’s Hump, and tingling or numbness in the arms and hands.
The contraction of the pectoralis muscles and upper rectus abdominis that typically occurs with forward head posture can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome, shallow breathing, and high blood pressure.
The contraction of the lower back muscles that inevitably occurs in order to keep us from falling forward leads to tightness and pain in the lower back, muscle spasms, lumbar disc problems, osteoarthritis, and sciatica.
I hope these health problems have gotten your attention. Even if your forward head posture is mild right now, it can easily get worse as you get older, and it is much easier to fix it now than after you’ve developed a painful condition.
To learn more about the health effects of your posture, read 10 Shocking Ways That Your Posture Affects Your Health.