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Neck Pain: A Result of Our Forward Head Posture

Original Publish Date
May 16, 2021

Neck problems, neck spasms and general neck pain are common

complaints in the orthopedic rehab world. One of the most common

causes of these problems is forward head posture.

FORWARD HEAD LIFESTYLE

With the high prevalence of desk jobs, the influx of cell phone use,

computer use and video gaming, as well as time spent relaxing in front of

the TV, our posture certainly suffers more often than we realize. Over

time, these repetitive tasks put us into a position called forward head

posture, in which our heads and necks protrude forward into a flexed

position.

THE ROLE OF OSTEOPOROSIS

Forward head posture is not only caused by cell phones and leaning over

a computer all day. It can also be caused by age-related degeneration

and muscular weakness. Over time, our bones can become more brittle

and porous, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. Weakened,

fragile bones increase the risk for falls or broken bones. As the bones

become more brittle, the spine compresses and begins to change shape,

creating a stooped posture in the upper thoracic spine, in addition to

forward head posture. The best treatment for age-related spinal

degeneration and porous bones is weight-bearing exercise to slow bone

loss and stimulate the growth of new bone.

HEADACHES

Forward head posture causes strain on our neck muscles and can lead to

headaches due to pain referring from those tight neck muscles. When the

muscles at the base of the skull, called suboccipitals, become chronically

tight, trigger points can form, increasing tension in the already tightened

musculature, thereby causing tension headaches. Trigger points occur

when a muscle is so tight that a “knot” forms as a chemical

neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine builds up along the muscle wall

and inhibits the neurotransmitter’s signal to the brain that allows the

muscle to relax. Therefore, the muscle continuously contracts in a

vicious pain-spasm-pain cycle, leading to increased tension and

exacerbated pain.

HOW PT CAN HELP

If you are experiencing neck pain of any kind, call TODAY to schedule an

hour-long one-on-one evaluation with one of our orthopedic physical

therapists.

Through specific tests and measurements, they will create an

individualized plan of care to combat your pain, increase your mobility

and strength, and show you how to safely return to your daily activities

while avoiding those added stresses that contribute to that “pain in the

neck.”

Furthermore, each physical therapy plan of care includes targeted

stretches for tight muscles and individualized weight-bearing and

resistance strengthening exercises to reduce postural weakness and

improve overall daily function.

By Dr. Billy Beaudreau, PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, FAAOMPT

CALL COMPREHENSIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY TODAY AT 985-869-7221 FOR A DETAILED EVALUATION AND GET BACK TO DOING WHAT YOU LOVE!

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