Text neck

“Text neck” or forward head posture is becoming more and more common, due to the increasing use of smartphones, tablets and computers. It is also occurring at much younger ages.

This posture is a result of frequently leaning or hunching forward, followed by the brain and the nervous system becoming accustomed to this position. This chronic contraction of muscles in the front of the body can become more and more habitual, and less able to be controlled voluntarily.

Forward head posture may result in neck or upper back pain, stiffness, or soreness. Every inch that your head moves forward results in approximately 10 additional pounds of weight on the cervical spine. This pattern may also contribute to headaches, temporomandibular joint disfunction (TMJ), high blood pressure, shallow breathing, and numerous other negative outcomes.

Attempting to compensate or achieve better posture by pulling the head back to neutral may cause even more problems – if the muscles in the front of your neck do not fully relax it will result in a vise-like tension in both the front and back!

Common recommendations for addressing this pattern include stretching and strengthening, but neither of these efforts are likely to be successful, as they do not address the muscle tension that is the root of the problem.

Somatic Movement, in contrast, resets your muscle tension to a lower level, allowing you to relax into a more neutral posture. One movement that is particularly helpful for releasing tension in the front of the body is “the flower.” It can be performed lying down, as demonstrated by Martha Peterson of Essential Somatics:

It can also be performed sitting or standing.

Clinical Somatic Movement can help you to achieve faster results than learning on your own. I specialize in relieving “text neck,” and offer a Better Posture Program. It involves three clinical sessions, spaced approximately one week apart, along with individualized movements for you to practice a few minutes each day at home. Contact me at 517-275-2388 or phil.howard@zoho.com for an initial consultation to determine if this program is right for you.

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