Researchers tell us that for every inch that the head advances forward of the shoulders, weight is increased by 10 pounds. Therefore, a 12 pound head held forward 3 inches forces the cervical extensors (semispinalis, splenii, longissimus, upper traps, etc.) to isometrically restrain 42 pounds against the unrelenting force of gravity. And we can’t imagine why so many clients/patients present with degenerative disc disease, head pain and TMJ.
Forward Head Postures resulting from bad sleeping positions, driving stress, computer neck, whiplash, and improper breathing habits leads to muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves and instability. Degenerative health can result from stretching of the spinal cord. According to Erik Dalton, major cause of head, neck, jaw and shoulder pain is due to poor posture including fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and chronic fatigue syndromes.
The increased pressure imposed on the neck from altered posture flattens the normal curve of the cervical spine resulting in abnormal strain of muscles, ligaments, fascia and bones. According to the respected Spine Journal, 2006; 6:591-694, forward head carriage causes accelerated degeneration of intervertebral joints resulting in degenerative joint disease (cervical osteoarthritis) and osteoporosis.
The consequence of poor posture goes far beyond just looking awkward. In fact, according to the January 1994 issue of the American Journal of Pain Management, posture and function are related in that poor posture is evident in clients/patients with chronic pain-related conditions including low back pain, neck related headaches, and stress-related illnesses.
Posture affects, and moderates every function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by poor posture. According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter Vol. 18, #3, March 2000, the impact of long term forward neck posture leads to "long term muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves."
When spinal tissues are subjected to prolonged compression, they deform and undergo a remodeling that can become permanent. Normalizing poor neck posture is key to stopping and reversing decay and degenerative disc disease and pain from headaches, rib dysfunction and Dowager's Humps...but it takes time and a ongoing effort using modalities such as Myoskeletal Alignment(R) to correct the damage caused by faulty neck posture.