Our addiction to checking our smartphones, together with leading a sedentary lifestyle which includes sitting down at computers and desks for a majority of our day, can add to bad posture if we’re not consciously thinking about how we sit or the angle of our head.
There are various negative effects brought on by our forward head posture such as major strain on our neck, backs and shoulders and causing misalignment through our spine and the muscles surrounding and supporting these areas.
Bad posture doesn’t just affect the obvious areas in our body but our overall health suffers too – feelings of stress, mood, and even behaviour are all affected by the posture we choose to take each day.
Negative Effects Of Forward Head Posture
1. Causes misalignment of our spine
The most obvious negative effects of forward head posture is the tensions the occur in the muscles around the neck and spine. Each time we lean forward 60 degrees, we add an increase of 60 pounds of weight into our neck. You can see how adopting this position on a regular basis during the day can cause havoc and pain throughout the neck and back.
Our muscles then try to adapt to the position and cause tension, strain and misalignment in order to protect the spine.
2. Reduces Lung Capacity
Having the head in a forward posture can go on to cause even more health complications. According to Rene Cailliet MD, director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Southern California, having our heads down at an angle when texting, for example, can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine, pulling the entire spine out of alignment and losing up to 30% of vital lung capacity which obviously will affect the efficiency of oxygen getting to the cells in our body.
3. Increases Risk Of Depression
Poor posture also has been shown to affect depression in people, stress response, self-esteem, body image, as well as brain function and behaviour. A study in Brazil looked at posture in people with chronic depression. The researchers found that when people were going through bouts of depression, their forward head posture was more prominent.
4. Increases Risk Of Heart Disease
Saying your heart can be affected by your forward head posture seems far fetched but chiropractor Adam Meade explains that the curve of your cervical vertebrae are referred to as “the arc of life” by neurosurgeons because it’s these small bones that create the main gateway for the spinal nerves that affect every organ in the body including the heart.
Want To Correct Your Head Posture? Try These Simple Exercises
Doing simple exercises throughout the day can help to realign your neck, spine and muscles in order to help the body function optimally and not be so affected by bad forward head posture.
This exercise helps develop good postural habits if done throughout the day forcing the head and neck into a better position for realignment.
- Sit or stand up straight, looking straight ahead. Gently use one finger to push the chin in towards your neck and hold for a few seconds. Repeat this throughout out the day to force your neck to align with the spine.
- Gently draw your head and chin back like you’re creating a double chin. You can use your fingers to push your chin back but make sure your head is facing forward and not tilting in any direction.
- Doing this gently, you should feel a stretch along the back of the neck.
- Release your chin and repeat.
- Do around 10 reps each hour.
Shoulder Blade Pinches
The slouching forward of our shoulders can create tension in our neck, upper and lower back as well as decreasing our lung capacity and compromising the health of our organs. This exercise is designed to realign the back and stretch out the shoulders and rest of the body.
via PFC Studio
- Sitting or standing with your back straight, draw your shoulder blades towards each other. You can interlock your hands behind your back for maximum stretch.
- Hold this for a few seconds, release and repeat.
- Try to perform 10 reps every hour throughout the day.
Featured photo credit: Carlos R via pexels.com