Correcting Neck Posture: A Key to Pain Relief

For every inch that the head moves forward in posture, it increases the weight of the head on the neck by 10 pounds!

In the example to the left a forward neck posture of 3 inches increases the weight of the head on the neck by 30 pounds and the pressure put on the muscles increases 6 times.

Poor neck posture leads to a Forward Head Position which is one of the most common causes of neck, head and shoulder tension and pain. This can be a result of injuries like sprains and strains of the neck leading to weak neck muscles, poor sleeping positions and the illustrated examples of driving stress, computer neck, couch neck and readers neck along with improper breathing habits.

Long term abnormal neck posture leads to muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves and instability. Poor health can result from stretching of the spinal cord. A major part of head, neck, jaw and shoulder pain is due to poor posture.

The extra pressure on the neck from altered posture flattens the normal curve of the cervical spine resulting in abnormal strain of muscles, ligaments, bones and joints of the neck causing the joints to deteriorate faster than normal resulting in degenerative joint disease or neck arthritis as indicated in an article published in the Spine Journal, recognized internationally as the leading journal in its field and the leading subspecialty journal for the treatment of spinal disorders, 1986;6:591-694.

The effects of poor posture go far beyond just looking awkward. In fact according to the January 1994 issue of the American Journal of Pain Management, Posture and function are related in that poor posture is evident in patients with chronicpain related conditions including lower back pain, neck related headaches and stress-related illnesses. Posture affects and moderates every function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by poor posture.

Some Common Causes of Poor Neck Posture:

Driving Stress

Computer Neck

Couch Neck

Readers Neck

Correction of poor neck posture is key to stopping and reversing the decay and degenerative disc disease that neck structures undergo and the pain that can result including neck pain, headaches and pain between the shoulders. When the spinal tissues are subject to significant pressure for long periods of time, they deform and undergo a remodeling in which these changes can become permanent. This is why it takes time and a concerted effort using multiple techniques to correct the poor neck posture condition.

Awareness of the correct neck and shoulder posture is the beginning of correction. Do the wall test shown above. You can check someone you care about by standing straight and having them look up at the ceiling, down at the floor and then straight ahead. Picture an imaginary line through the center of the shoulder and up to the head.

The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation. 1994 9(1):19-23 in an article regarding the relationship of changes in neck posture in patients with neck pain; as neck pain patients had the normal neck curve restored over a twelve week period, improvements were noted in all measurements of clinical symptoms. The patient’s improvement as indicated by the Visual Analog Scale and Pain.


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Kings Park Sports Medicine Centre
031 303 3874

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