Forward head posture
How well your brain works has everything to do with the posture of our cervical spine (neck). Our body is built in such a way that the foundation of your head sits in an optimal position for structure and function. However, the lives our city kids lead these days aren’t aligned with the design of our body. Our spinal cord is carrying a heavy load, literally. In fact, the spinal cord is an extension of our brain and plays a crucial role in the health of the entire body. A forward head posture is undesirable, but why?
As your child goes about her day, she is frequently in a posture where the head is drawn forwards. Think of looking down to read a book, looking down to a phone, a TV or sitting in front of a laptop. These postures place a great amount of stress on the spine and can create disconnections in the joints of a neck, reducing the degree of movement and creating instability in the normally strong structure.
What to watch out for:
- For optimal positioning and strength the ear should be in line with the shoulder when viewing posture from the side. Forward head posture is becoming more frequently seen in children.
- If a child is ‘clumsy’ or always tripping over, walking into walls etc. she could have a forward head posture. The feedback to the brain which is responsible for balance and coordination is compromised. The brain isn’t able to register where exactly in space the child is.
- An unstable posture also interferes with the feedback to the brain that regulates an area called the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe can be likened to ‘the terrible 2’s’ age in children. At that age they very often have inappropriate responses to situations as they simply haven’t got the brain capacity to understand. However, if an older child or adult is always responding inappropriately, an unaligned posture might be considered.
- Going further into the effects of instability in the neck, the cortex is responsible for our intellect, personality, emotional and social intelligence. As feedback from the neck is effected, so is the neurological path of information from the cerebellum to the cortex. A child’s cognitive output and learning strategies may be at risk.
- Incorrect head posture also affects our function biomechanically. As the head translates forward, our rib movement is reduced. This also reduces lung capacity and the amount of oxygen we take in. This reduction in oxygen affects the ability of the brain to function well and often times children and adults will show abnormal breathing patterns or sleep apnoea.
The purpose of the neck is to protect the spinal cord, support the weight of the skull and enable diverse head movement. From the minute you are born, innately you are programmed to raise your head. This is the time that you develop the curvature of your neck and this is why tummy time is so important for babies.
At our Amsterdam practice, Wellbeing Chiropractic, we realign your spine so the free flow of information to your brain isn’t compromised by disconnections or blockages which can be caused by such things as injury, poor posture and poor curvature development.
Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.
Hi there, thank you for this very informative and helpful article. I was wondering, aside from the chiropractic spinal adjustments, what can I do for my daughter to strengthen her so she no longer has the head forward posture? She has had a frenectomy to release the area, aside from constantly reminding her (which causes a lot of tension), I’m not sure what else to do!! We are in Australia so unfortunately I can’t come to see you!
Hope to hear from you.