A chiropractor is trained to detect poor posture and its underlying reasons. Abnormal posture can indicate problems with either the vertebral column, nervous system, or a combination of the two. It is extremely important to discover the reason for poor posture and to treat the cause of the problem before further health issues arise.
A common posture problem is forward tilt of the pelvis. The body’s weight shifts forward, causing excessive curvature and muscle weakness. This can cause chronic lower back and muscle pain, sciatica, leg weakness and circulation problems in the lower extremities. Premature spinal arthritis of the joints and discs can develop.
An even more common posture problem is a loss of the cervical curve, or forward head posture. Ideally, we should have a 40-45 degree curve in our neck
Forward head posture and loss of the neck curve are most often created by trauma and/or poor posture. Examples of trauma include the birth process (especially with forceps delivery), falls, car accidents, & sporting activities. The typical individual in our society today spends at least 3-4 hours a day slumped in front of a television, computer, and texting cell phone. These behaviors cause the head to shift forward and create a chronic posture pattern if not corrected.
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned. That’s because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from crashing onto your chest. This abnormal positioning also forces the suboccipital muscles (the ones that raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 suboccipital nerves. This can cause chronic trigger points and tension headaches
This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches. It is these nerves and muscles that have the relationship with the dura mater and therefore the brain and headaches.
If you are suffering from headaches of any kind, take a look at how far your head is in front of your shoulders (they should line up ear over top of shoulder.) Chiropractic has great success correcting this postural abnormality and when corrected, can lead to less pressure on upper neck and significant reduction of headaches.
Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states that head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine which can pull the entire spine out of alignment. He says that forward head posture may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.