Each summer we participate in a B2B (business to business) sidewalk event in the office complex Lighthouse operates in. We are located in a technology center called the Landmark Centre in central Kelowna. As a chiropractic office in a mainly “financial and tech” centre it can get confusing for other businesses why we are here.
It makes sense to us, because we are here to serve the people in the Landmark Buildings; but to the accountants, lawyers and software programmers it seems strange.
What did we see?
Even though most of the people I spoke to didn’t nave neck pain or back pain, they all had one thing in common. Forward head posture.
What is Forward Head Posture (FHP)?
Forward head posture, or FHP, is when your head sits forward on your ribcage, like in this picture.
In the corrective chiropractic world we have coined the term “technology neck” to describe this posture.
I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots on why we call FHP technology neck.
What is the research saying about FHP and the long term impact to your health?
In Dr. Alf Briegs groundbreaking textbook, Adverse Mechanical Tension in the Central Nervous System, Dr. Brieg showed on dissection that the human spinal cord stretched and deformed under FHP. In some cases up to five to seven centimetres. (1)
More recently, FHP has been associated with decreased oxygen flowing to the brain (2) and it’s even being considered as a risk factor in early onset dementia like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s Disease.
I also find it interesting that this same mechanical tension (or damage) was also studied by a physician in the late 1960’s surrounding the birth process.
Abraham Towbin (3) who was working with the Neuropathology Department at Harvard published a series or articles on traumatic birth impact on the infant spinal cord and how he felt it lead to not only cord damage but damage to the infant brain.
What does this have to do with me?
If you spend time in front of technology (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone) then you are at risk. If you spend time driving in a vehicle then you are at risk. If you sit at work, you are at risk. If you run a day care or are a teacher and you are bending over students or desks then you are at risk.
Modern day epidemic.
FHP is a modern day epidemic and has long term consequences, as the research above concludes. And this is completely independant of neck pain or headaches.
You can have FHP and not have any symptoms currently.
Can’t I just exercise that out of me?
A lot of people have tried, and I’m never going to downplay quality exercise. But I have seen too many x-rays of people with good posture on the outside but bad posture on the inside.
So the only way you really know if your spinal cord is doing ok is to have a careful check up by a doc that can properly assess the status of your spine.
What if I already have symptoms?
If you already have neck pain, headaches, sore shoulders or tight traps then you are likely further along on the progress of the spinal cord stretching and it would be critical to get that checked.
The long term consequences of just covering up the symptoms with medication or other types of short term “fixes” is just not worth it.
If you’re in the Kelowna or Greater Kelowna area then give us a call. If you’re not from the Okanagan then check out this directory to doctors who have trained specifically to assess and diagnosis like FHP. (Biophysics Directory)
Fill out the “Make An Appointment” form in the side bar at the top of this post and request an assessment with one of our doctors or give us a call at (250) 870-9136.
Adverse mechanical tension in the central nervous system : an analysis of cause and effect : relief by functional neurosurgery / by Alf Breig
Decreased Vertebral Artery Hemodynamics in Patients with Loss of Cervical Lordosis Mehmet Deniz Bulut, Mahmut Alpayci, Emre Senkoy, Aydin Bora, Levent Yazmalar, Alpaslan Yavuz, and Ismail Gulsen
Central Nervous System Damage in the Human Fetus and Newborn Infant; Mechanical and Hypoxic Injury Incurred in the Fetal-Neonatal Period Abraham Towbin, MD, Am J Dis Child. 1970;119(6):529-542.