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.
The Impact of Stress & Negative Thinking on Your Brain
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stress is the health epidemic of the 21st Century. Now so, more than ever, we’re experiencing a heightened sense of physiological and mental stress that makes us more vulnerable to disease, infections, and viruses.
The stress hormones that we produce are effective in shutting down the immune system, which explains why it’s so common to end up with a cold or the flu after prolonged periods of stress.
It’s no secret that stress is bad for us, but did you know that how you respond to stress along with your mindset has a powerful impact on our health?
In the latest season of Transcendence 2, award-winning author Dawson Church, PhD., discusses the impact of long term stress and anxiety on the brain. Through his life-long research into gene expression, he shares exactly how our mindset and stress-response can hardwire the brain and create our ‘reality.’