How is your head like a bowling ball?
Anterior Head Carriage and the Bowling Ball
The human head weighs between 8 and 12 pounds. This is very similar in size and weight to a ten pin bowling ball. When it comes to posture and health, where you carry your head (as silly as that sounds) is very important. The next time you are at a bowling alley pick up a number “10” ball and try to hold it in two positions. In the first position, with a fully bent elbow and arm to your side, hold the ball at shoulder height so it is beside your ear. Next, take the bowling ball and try holding it out in front of you with your arm straight. You will likely notice that when the ball is held on top of your supporting arm it is very easy compared to the second position. The same physical principles apply when people adopt and maintain an anterior head position (the head being held forward from neutral). Forward head position dramatically increases stress on the upper neck, lower neck and upper back as all of the tissues in these areas struggle to deal with the increased load. This type of chronic posture will cause reversals in the normal curvature in the neck, dramatically change the way forces are distributed, and significantly increase the rate of osteoarthritis and aging of the cervical spine. Generally people who have this type of chronic posture will experience an increased incidence of headache, neck pain, upper back pain, and suffer injuries to these areas at a higher rate.
The modern workstation and evolution of technology towards the laptop and handheld device is actually creating an epidemic of headache, neck pain and disability. It is especially significant as this chronic posture is being adopted at earlier and earlier ages, when the curves and facet joint angles are still developing. Toddlers proficient with Ipads might increase their level of technical literacy at an ever earlier age and reduce the need for hands on supervision, but at what cost? Perhaps we should consider the potential effects on proper postural development and the potential consequences to the health of the spine and nervous system when we give these devices to our children.
Chiropractors are specially trained and able to detect and treat changes occurring in the tissues of the neck and upper back from these chronic postural stresses. Regular chiropractic visits can slow the rate of degenerative change (see the page on Spandex and Fibrosis), reduce the inflammation and symptoms that accompany these changes. In so doing, chiropractors are able to help patients maintain active and healthy lifestyles with less pain and disease as they age. To borrow the words of Sir Thomas Edison, “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
A combination of chiropractic care, specific home exercises and increased postural awareness can dramatically improve a patients posture and stop/slow it’s gradual deterioration. Patients who undergo postural rehabilitation often experience improvements in other areas of performance and health.
If you would like to discuss your posture with Dr. Simons follow the links at the top of the page to arrange a convenient time at one of his two locations.
The Adult Human head weighs roughly the same as a ten pin bowling ball. Where you carry it in relation to your spine is very important. Excessive stress on the structures of the neck due to poor posture can lead to injury and chronic degenerative change.