Individuals experiencing ongoing neck pain and stiffness may be dealing with a common and correctable condition known as forward head syndrome. Also referred to as forward head posture, this condition is usually the result of abnormal, long term neck posture or sudden and intense trauma to the neck. The condition is often under-diagnosed which may result in mistreatment or under-treatment of the condition. When this occurs the problems associated with forward head syndrome will continue to plague the patient. Here we look more closely at this condition and how patients can find relief from the symptoms associated with it.
What Causes Forward Head Syndrome?
Despite the common misdiagnosis of forward head syndrome, this condition is the most common cause of pain in the head, shoulder and neck region. Patients suffering from forward head syndrome usually fall within two categories. The first are patients who have experienced some form of trauma to the affected area. Injuries from car accidents, sporting accidents and other sprains and strains to the neck are common causes of this condition. The second group of people suffering from this condition do so as a result of poor or abnormal neck posture. Poor neck posture is often the result of driving, working on a computer, reading and any number of occupations or hobbies which require constant and long term straining of the neck.
Effects of Forward Head Syndrome
When your neck is not properly supported by your spine, there is automatically more pressure put on other muscles and joints to compensate. Poor posture affects many other areas of your body beyond the area immediately affected. For example, holding your head at an abnormal angle does not just affect your head, neck and shoulders. Your blood pressure, lung capacity, mood and most other functions of your body are affected by poor posture. Whether your poor posture is the result of habitual straining or an unavoidable trauma, the end result is the same; long term pain and unnecessary suffering. Improper diagnosis and failure to treat the condition can lead to a life long battle to ease pain and function normally, with patients often robbed of energy in the process and unable to participate in activities they enjoy.
Treatment for Forward Head Syndrome
There is relief for patients suffering from forward head syndrome. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, patients can correct the problem and eliminate the pain and suffering that is commonly reported. Some of the possible options for patients with forward head syndrome include spinal adjustments, exercises specifically designed to treat the condition and changes which improve the posture. Depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause creating the poor posture, one or all of these options may be needed to correct the problem. Regardless of which option or options are used, correcting neck and shoulder posture in the present and future are key to reversing the condition. Without proper posture, the success of other treatments will eventually be lost with the return of pain and other negative side effects from this condition.
Your Tulsa Chiropractor,
Dr. Ryan Marshall, D.C.