Until a week back I was blissfully unaware of my “sitting at the desk” posture. It wasn’t until one of our chiropractors made the comment “you are the perfect example of forward head posture” that I realized the impact of my posture on my back and neck.
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned, because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping onto your chest. This also forces the muscles at the back of the neck (they raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 Suboccipital nerves. This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches.
Forward head posture occurs when your ear is not in line with your shoulder. It should be directly over it and not forward of the shoulder. This is often the culprit responsible for load of people suffering from neck, head and shoulder tension.
Almost all of us are at risk for forward head posture. Computer use, which strongly encourages rounded shoulders and upper back, and therefore forward head posture, is ubiquitous; it is a significant risk factor. Driving for a living (or for many hours at a stretch) is another risk factor. Habits such as reading in bed with a pillow propped under your head may also contribute to forward head posture. Doing close work requiring manual dexterity and eyesight acuity can raise your risk, too.
Three everyday tips on how to correct forward head posture at the office:
- Make sure that your computer and desk equipment is ergonomically correct. The top third of the screen should be at eye level.
- Take out the all heavy objects and useless documents, and only have the essentials in your handbag and stop carrying your back pack over one shoulder.
- Make sure to take a stroll every 30 minutes if you’re working at a desk.