One Reason You May Suffer From Headaches: Forward Head Syndrome
Are headaches and pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and lower back all part of your new “normal”? You could be suffering from Forward Head Syndrome (FHS), a common condition suffered by many of us Westerners. Two of the main causes of FHS are poor posture coupled with extended hours sitting at a desk.
How heavy is your head?
Remember the cute kid from the movie Jerry McGuire? He knew the answer: the average human head weighs ~12 pounds. Allow the head to shift forward event slightly by a few degrees and now your head weighs twice as much. Visualize what this new head position does to the alignment of your spine and to the function of the muscles supporting your upper back and neck. The result is not pretty.
The Dangers of FHS
- Your centre of gravity is pulled forward
- Your shoulders are forced into a forward position
- The muscles of the upper back and back of the neck become overstreched and overworked which can contribute to headaches
- The muscles of your chest and front of the neck become tight and short
- The upper back rounds and shifts backward to compensate
- The lower back and pelvis tilt forwards causing your lower back to arch.
No wonder headaches and pain in the upper shouldes and neck are a chronic problem for many of us!
Is Your Head on Straight?
Here’s a simple way to check to see if your head and neck are in the correct alignment:
- Place the index, middle, and ring finger of one hand together (if you were ever a boy scout, this is the sign used when reciting the motto)
- Place the three fingers on the back of the neck
- Slowly move your head forward until you feel the muscles on the back of the neck flatten and harden
- Then take your head back until the base of the skull compresses to the back of the neck – NOT a comfortable position
- Bring your head to a neutral position where you feel a soft, relaxed curvature in the back of the neck. This is where your head should sit
- Then take the three fingers and place them under your chin; the distance between the front of your neck and the tip of your chin should be no more than these three fingers
Voila! You now have a neutral head position.
It will take work and practice to re-train your neck to realign itself so your head will sit in the right place. I promise that overtime your headaches will lessen or even disappear and your back, shoulders, and neck will thank you.
Ahhh, I bet you’re feeling better already.
Study Finds Significant PTSD Relief Through Lucid Dreaming
A groundbreaking new study of lucid dreaming suggests that people can heal psychological trauma while they’re asleep, and may even show potential for healing on the physical level.
A lucid dream is one in which you’re actively aware that you’re dreaming and may even have some control over what happens. While scientists have been studying this fascinating phenomenon for decades, recent research focus has shifted to the potential for healing within this state.
“Lucid dreaming is like being conscious within the unconscious mind, so there’s a whole host of healing benefits that we can gain from lucid dreaming,” Morley said. “In fact, many of the things you can treat through hypnotherapy, you can also treat through lucid dreaming. Now, there are some very interesting studies and preliminary research that points to lucid dreaming being one of the most powerful interventions for people with nightmares and especially PTSD-triggered nightmares.”
In the IONS study, a group of 49 people with diagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were given instruction by Charlie into lucid dreaming. Over the course of one week, they were taught various induction techniques with a specific emphasis on making a dream plan for healing.
“So the techniques that we used for this study started with the basics — keeping a dream diary, learning to check dreams signs, reality checking during the day, all of your classic lucid dreaming techniques — but what we placed a lot of emphasis on was the dream plan; planning what you want to do in your first or next dream,” Morley said.
“If I were to become lucid within those recurring nightmares, what could I actually do to help affect healing? What we discovered was that simply by becoming lucid in a recurring PTSD nightmare, that already had a healing response, because it’s like ‘Oh, wow, I’m not really back in Iraq, I’m simply dreaming I’m back in Iraq.’ But once we trained people, not only to get lucid and know that they’re dreaming but to then intentionally interact with the source of their fear, or the source of their trauma, or the thing that they’ve been running from in their nightmares, to actually turn and face it had a really powerful healing response. We had some really good data that we gathered from that.”