One of the leading reasons people seek out the professional services of a chiropractor is neck pain, but many of these individuals do not realize the connection between neck pain and forward head posture. All too often we assume that pain in the neck is a result of something wrong that organically happened. Instead, it may be possible that we are responsible for that neck pain due to forward head posture.
Those persons suffering from neck pain should consider seeing a licensed Kingwood chiropractor for expert help in determining the source of the pain as soon as possible. This can help prevent the situation from quickly worsening and becoming even more painful.
What Is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture is more prevalent in today’s modern society due in large part to the way we live and work. Individuals with forward head posture may experience conditions such as shoulders that slouch forward and/or a rounding of the upper back.
One common cause of forward head posture is often referred to as “tech neck.” This can develop when a person repeatedly lowers their head to look down at something such as a laptop, tablet, smart phone, and other smart devices.
The Connection Between Neck Pain and Forward Head Posture
Unfortunately, forward head posture redistributes the weight of a person’s head which can throw the body out of balance and put additional amounts of pressure in places that are not designed to support that shift for prolonged periods of time, such as the neck and cervical spine.
The head is heavier than most people realize, with an average weight of between ten and eleven pounds. Picture the neck and spine supporting those ten pounds with perfect posture. Now picture the ten-pound head lowering forward about an inch which can make it feel up to an additional ten pounds heavier. Then envision what that does to the spine. Even the slightest redistribution of weight can have a dramatic effect on an individual’s posture.
While the neck and spine are designed to support the weight of the head, even if it wobbles about, it is only made to do so for the short term before repercussions become an issue. A prolonged forward head posture can negatively impact nearby muscles and tissues. When adjacent muscles get fatigued from supporting extra weight of the head, it can cause fatigue and strain in areas such as:
- Upper Back
Some studies have shown that a person with forward head posture may also have a reduction in neck mobility when it comes to forward flexion movements and rotation. Changes like these can lead to a number of problems which can affect the shoulders and upper back, but for most patients the primary issue becomes neck pain which can manifest in:
- Stabbing pain
- Tightening of muscles
- Increase sensitivity in the neck
In some cases where the connection between neck pain and forward head posture becomes notably severe, it may even lead to headaches for a person who is already suffering from neck pain.
How A Chiropractor Can Help with Neck Pain and Forward Head Posture
When a patient arrives at the chiropractor with a complaint of neck pain, these professionals will make a diagnosis based on several different strategies, one of which is the intake of information from the patient. Expect the chiropractor to ask about the pain that is being experienced, how long it has lasted, if there was a specific event that caused it, and if there are certain actions that make it feel better or worse.
Another strategy of a Kingwood chiropractor is a physical examination of the patient. Specifically, chiropractors will look for possible postural deficits which could be contributing to the patient’s neck pain. Should they spot a forward head posture, it can give them important data about why the patient may be suffering from neck pain.
While neck pain can be uncomfortable and at times excruciating, most chiropractors will not advocate for the use of medications to manage that pain. This generally includes avoiding the use of over the counter or even prescription medications to help minimize the pain and inflammation. This policy is due to the fact that there are certain methods of chiropractic care that are often able to achieve the same outcome without the use of medication.
When it comes to treatment, some of the strategies employed by professional chiropractors can include:
- Manual therapies designed to restore full range of motion in affected joints
- Exercises for the patient to practice in office and at home in between visits to help retrain muscles that are not conditioned
- Instructions for developing better posture when standing, sitting, and especially when using electronic or smart devices
Patients that follow a chiropractor’s prescribed strategies may be able to reduce forward head posture and decrease the chances of recurring neck pain due to the practice.
What to Look for In a Kingwood Chiropractor
If you have never been to a chiropractor, it may be harder to know what to look for in a reputable caregiver.
Ideally, people should look for an individual who has a four-year degree with professional training, years of experience in treating patients, and a sterling reputation. In addition, it can be wise to choose a provider that offers a wide variety of services in case they are needed in the future.
Once you have narrowed the list of potential chiropractors in Kingwood, it can be a good idea to discuss their approach to treatment as this can vary from provider to provider. A good treatment plan typically involves some work done in the office as well as a home-based plan to work toward improvement in between visits.
By ensuring that you are enlisting the help of a trusted and reputable provider who understands the connection between neck pain and forward head posture, you can better set yourself up for success.
If you or someone you love frequently suffers from neck pain as well as poor posture, it may be wise to seek counsel from a licensed Kingwood chiropractor. Do not put off taking care of the body. Nurture it, protect it, and keep it healthy with assistance from a professional chiropractor.