Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, and Westlake Village CA
What is FHP?
If someone were to take a profile shot of you, would your head be directly over your shoulders? Probably not. Correct neck posture should be completely vertical, as your head supports the full weight of your skull while remaining in a straight line from your head, all the way down your body, and to your feet.
To determine if you have Forward Head Posture or FHP, take a look at yourself in the mirror. When viewing each side, your ears, shoulders, and hips should align perfectly in a straight line to the floor. If you notice that your ears are in front of your shoulders, your neck is not properly aligned, which is a telltale sign of forward head posture.
Effects of FHP
On average, the human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. When the head is held in proper alignment, the body adapts to supporting the weight of the head. However, if your head always leans forward, your neck will experience strain and stress, subjecting the spine to additional pressure as well.
FHP significantly increases the pressure and weight carried by the neck, shoulders, and back, which can cause severe damage. Moreover, for every inch that your head is leaning forward straying from natural alignment, you are adding 10 pounds of stress to your neck, shoulders, back, and spine.
You may notice that FHP leads to a hunched or crouched-over look, but ultimately causes much more serious problems including:
- Chronic fatigue or lack of energy
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (jaw joint pain)
- Pain in your neck, shoulders or upper, lower and middle back
- Damage to joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels that are permanent
- Headaches and migraines
- Poor quality of sleep or insomnia
- Loss of height by 2 inches
- Affects your hormonal health
- Leads to mouth breathing, snoring and sleep apnea
- Early degeneration of the spine
- Nerve impingement
- Decreased range of motion
- Lack of confidence
- Decreased blood flow to the brain
- Reduced lung capacity by up to 30%
- Harmful effects to vision and hearing
- Jaw pain and sinus issues
- Balance issues such as dizziness or vertigo
- Issues associated with digestion
Practically everyone is affected by FHP, although many people lack the understanding of FHP’s long-term effects and how it impacts one’s physical and mental abilities. To help correct FHP, we need to find out how you got there in the first place, and then proper treatment can be prescribed to help improve your posture.
What do I do about FHP?
Myofunctional therapy is an excellent way to improve your entire posture! Many patients have experienced relief from their FHP with myofunctional therapy, which is a series of exercises that specifically targets muscles of the face and neck, retraining this muscle group. In a sense, myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for your face.
This form of therapy should only be prescribed by a myofunctional therapist such Dr. Kathleen Carson at Integrative Dental Arts. Under the careful guidance of your therapist, your progress should be monitored to ensure you are making progress in correcting your FHP. Every patient is different, and therefore, exercises will be curtailed to meet your individual needs.
If you suffer from FHP and its effects, contact Integrative Dental Arts at (818) 889-0400. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.