Do you think you would get a little tired of doing that?
Well, that’s exactly what your neck muscles are doing all day.
And, if your posture is poor then your neck muscles could be doing even extra lifting!
I see this all the time in my office. A patient arrives with complaints like “my neck hurts”, “my head feels heavy”, “it hurts to lift my head out of the wash basin at the salon – I have to use my hand to help lift my head”, or even “I feel like I sleep on my neck wrong every morning”
The “neck hurts” or the “I slept on my neck wrong” is typically associated with muscle or joint issues where the muscles are tight and the joints are often stuck. Either way, you can’t move your head the way you want.
The heavy head is often a result of poor posture over time. For example, we live in a very technological society. We lean over our laptops, we hunch over our smartphones, or we even curl up to read a book on our Kindle or iPad.
Because of all this technology, our heads start to move forward and our shoulders start to round forward. It is normal for our head to 1-2 inches in front of our sternum or chest. But, for every inch forward beyond that 1-2 inches, we add 10 pounds of extra force to our neck muscles.
For example, I had a patient come into my office with neck pain. His head was 4.5 inches in front of his sternum. That’s 25 pounds of extra force besides the 16 pounds his head naturally weighs! That’s a total of 41 pounds of force on his neck muscles!
Now, not every person is walking around with such an extreme but even if you are just 1 inch forward, you are adding 10 pounds of force to your neck spine and muscles. That’s 26 pounds that you must carry around.
I’ve seen patients begin to work on their posture and get amazing results. Not only do they stop having neck pain, but they also often stop having headaches and jaw pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain, headaches, migraines, jaw pain, or even shoulder pain, how would it impact your life if these issues were just 10% better, 50% better… or what if they were flat out gone?
Or, have you caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror lately? Do you look hunched forward like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Do you feel like you are getting shorter?
You don’t have to have pain to have a posture problem. Your muscles may be adapting and compensating right now and you feel fine. How do you feel when you stand up against the wall with the back of your head touching the wall, your buttocks touching the wall and the back of your heels touching the wall? Try this then walk away.
Do you feel like you are leaning backwards? Do you feel like your nose is in the air?
Guess what? That’s what it feels like to upright with normal posture!
The problem is you have probably been leaning and hunching forward for so long that your brain now thinks it is normal. You must re-train your brain to learn that normal is standing up straight.
If I have struck a chord with you and you are asking yourself, how do I correct my posture? What if my posture gets worse? Am I carrying around an extra 10 pounds on my neck all day?
Then, don’t wait. Start working on your posture today. Take a break from your computer and practice standing tall for 2-3 minutes every hour.
If you want to improve your posture faster or if you have concerns about the pain or heaviness in your head and neck, then please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Jeanette at 262-358-6730 or [email protected]. She loves helping people just like you with neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, or concerns about their posture worsening. You can also visit www.dewittptwellness.comand learn more about De Witt Physical Therapy & Wellness, LLC.
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