A forward head posture can stress your muscles and joints. You know that. However, improving posture goes well beyond reducing muscle tension.
The way you carry yourself can negatively or positively influence many different elements of your biology that you may be surprised to learn. In short, proper alignment is important not only for the health of the musculoskeletal system, but also for the respiratory system, the digestive system, and many other bodily functions.
1 – Posture changes the breathing and can lead to an eternal fight. or-flight state.
There are several muscles responsible for the respiratory process, but the main causes are the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles. A person whose shoulders, ribs and pelvis are misaligned can not make optimal use of the diaphragm.
Instead of harnessing the power of the diaphragm, the body instinctively resorts to compensation with accessory muscles such as the pek minor, the upper trap, and the sternocleidomastoid (in the neck) for breathing.
This means that they are stuck in an eternal combat or flight state. Why? Because these are the muscles that are activated in stress states. For our muscles to contract and relax completely, they need to be in the right position.
A study by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation examined how sitting and standing postures affect the lung capacity of the expiratory flow.
They tested the participants in four different postures: standing, collapsing, "normal" and neutral with additional support for the lower back. Not surprisingly, the collapsed group had a significantly lower respiratory function than the other groups (4).
In addition, people with a pelvic anterior bite have an adaptive "long" abdominal muscle, a diaphragm that gets stuck in a partial contraction. and hamstrings that are locked in an extended position.
Proper diaphragmatic breathing helps your body return to the parasympathetic nervous system, where your heart rate decreases and your body begins to relax.
After all, if you breathe the muscles in your neck and chest, you will not be able to properly recover, whereas a properly aligned chest will allow optimal movement of the diaphragm, which will make the breath stronger.
2 – Attitude affects your digestion.
Digestion begins in the mouth when we chew, and then through the esophagus when we swallow. For someone with a forward head posture (which is more common in the smartphone era), the esophagus is pushed forward, making the journey of eating into the stomach more intricate.
The vagus nerve (located just behind the jaw on both sides) side of your body) is tightly connected to the digestive system. A forward position can affect the function of the vagus nerve, which can lead to swallowing or acid reflux.
As your food moves into the stomach, the position of your torso determines how efficiently these nutrients move around the rest of the digestive system. A flaccid posture compresses all internal organs such as the stomach and intestines. This will ultimately limit the mobility in these areas and slow down the whole digestive process.
If you sit for much of the day while sitting above a desk, you should take regular breaks and set reminders to sit upright A long way to improve your digestion.
3 – Posture can cause headaches and TMJ disorders.
A 2006 study found an association between forward posture and tension-type headache.
Participants who had a significant degree of forward head posture The posture was much more likely to have chronic tension-type headache than that of participants whose heads were closer to their center of gravity (1).
The further you move the head forward, the higher the load on the front neck Musculature and the tighter the suboccipital muscles (below the base of the skull) will be.
Another article found that the angle from earlobe to C7 (the lowest bone in the neck) was a major problem termination factor for TMJ pain. People with the lowest ear C7 angle were most likely to have a TMJ disorder (3).
The neck muscles affect the movement of the mandible in the jaw and any tension resulting from postural abnormalities will increase the strain on these joints.
It is easy to imagine how a bad posture can affect the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and lower back, but also the muscles in the head and jaw are jacked up.
4 – Posture affects your self-esteem and energy.
The way your mind influences your body, so does your body affect your mind. Research has shown in many cases that your attitude can positively or negatively affect your mood and your self-esteem.
Participants who have simply stood in a "confident" stance by pushing their chest outward actually felt more self-confident than standing in a "dubious" position, as they do when limp (5).
So, if you feel depressed, the worst thing you can do if you feel bad is for your mood and self-esteem.
Researchers at San Francisco State University have taken this information one step further. Participants were either asked to walk or skip. The subjects were asked both before and after their interventions to assess their energy.
Those who walked with a loose attitude noticed a significant decrease in energy, while the skip group actually noticed a sharp increase in energy. Skip the path to the gym and office every day. (Okay, maybe not.)
Improving your posture requires a lot of time and commitment, but here are some simple and effective strategies that you can incorporate into your daily life:
- Set regular alerts as firm a memory. If you're working on a desk job, set the alarm on your smartphone to turn off hourly to remind you to remember your position. Once you're done with work, you can easily forget how you sit (or stand) and return to bad positions.
- Use more pull exercises in your exercise program. Pressing movements such as bench presses or overhead presses can increase bad posture by continuing to strengthen tight muscles.
- Many people have overactive pectoral muscles and anterior deltoids . Horizontal rows of cables, dumbbells and dumbbells can help correct a dysfunctional posture.
- Improve your workstation. Standing desks are popular in the world of work these days, but in every office they are not suitable for everyone.
If you can not buy a standing desk, you can make some simple changes to improve the ergonomics of your workspace. If you only lift your computer screen at eye level, you no longer have to lean over the desk.
The more often you implement these strategies, the faster you will notice changes in your personal behavior. Remember that your habits have contributed to your current attitude over many years. Therefore, it may take a while for these patterns to be reversed in your brain.
Two holes to correct the position of the forward head
4 exercises to improve the real posture
- Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., Alonso-Blanco, C., Cuadrado, ML, Gerwin, RD, & Pareja, YES (2006). Trigger points in the subcoccipital muscles and forward head posture in tension headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 46 (3), 454-460
- H. Ioi, R. Matsumoto, R. Nishioka, TK Goto, S. Nakata, Nakasima, A., & Counts , AL (2008). Ratio of temporomandibular joint osteoarthrosis to head posture and dentofacial morphology. Orthodontics & craniofacial research, 11 (1), 8-16.
- Lee, W.Y., Okeson, J.P. and Lindroth, J. (1995). The relationship between forward-mindedness and temporomandibular disorders. Journal of orofacial pain, 9 (2).
- Lin, F., Parthasarathy, S., Taylor, S.J., Pucci, D., Hendrix, R.W., & Makhsous, M. (2006). Influence of different sitting positions on lung capacity, expiratory flow and lumbar lordosis. Archive for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 87 (4), 504-509.
- Peper, E., & Lin, I.M. (2012). Increase or Decrease Depression: How Postures Affect Your Energy Level. Biofeedback, 40 (3), 125-130.
- Saito, E.T., Akashi, P.M. H. & Sacco, I.D.C. (2009). Global assessment of posture in patients with temporomandibular joint disease. Clinics, 64 (1), 35-39.