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Neck posture forms an important part of overall body posture. The way you hold your neck can impact other bodily functions and physical appearance.
Any problems with the neck can affect the spine below and the position of the head above.
- What is Neck Posture
- Why Good Neck Posture is Important
- Reasons for Bad Neck Posture
- Health Issues Due to Improper Neck Posture
What is Neck Posture
Neck posture is the alignment of the skull and neck with the vertebrae without your head tilting forward or sagging down.
It involves the proper functioning of the musculature in the neck and upper back to hold the neck in proper alignment with the spine. Neck posture is maintained when the head and ears are in a position with the shoulders.
Good neck posture is not just aesthetically pleasing but also a component of overall health and wellbeing. Good neck posture has many benefits and contributes to the complete alignment of the body
Why Good Neck Posture is Important
Some of the key reasons why a correct neck posture is so important –
1. It improves functions of the body
Good neck posture adds to full body alignment which in turn facilitates proper functioning of internal organs, circulatory and other bodily systems.
With improper neck posture, the scalene muscles in the neck are taxed and unable to contribute to effective breathing.
Bad neck posture obstructs air to the diaphragm and lungs and breathing can become shallow. Neck posture thus enhances and promotes effective breathing.
Proper neck posture can also contribute to proper lower back movement while lifting objects.
2. Neck pain prevention
Our head weighs around 4kgs or 10lbs and when the neck is properly aligned, we’re not burdened by the weight of our heads.
Improper neck posture stresses out the muscles and bones in this area to work overtime leading to pain, discomfort and headaches. We can avoid neck problems and pain by correcting our neck posture.
3. Improves memory and learning
When the body is aligned in general, brain function and learning are well supported. Since the neck works with respiratory system to increase oxygen to the brain it in turn effects memory and the brain.
As we take in an adequate supply of oxygen through proper neck posture, brain function and cognition improve.
4. Physically more appealing
It is the physical appearance that is interrelated with how we carry ourselves and should be one of the motivational factors in correcting our posture discrepancies.
Bad neck posture can make us look shorter and is not physically attractive.
Neck posture also gives us the appearance of power and confidence, which is helpful in social situations. Research has also proven the connection between posture and how we feel.
Besides improving appearance, neck posture contributes to overall alignment and towards feelings of worthiness making it a win-win situation.
5. Improves mood
As neck posture contributes to overall posture it also affects mood and emotions.
A study found that found that when people held improper postures involving the neck, head and back while asked to recall events, they were more inclined to reminisce sad and depressive times.
Individuals in aligned positions, on the other hand, were more likely to have positive memories.
Reasons for Bad Neck Posture
Bad neck posture is seen as a forward head posture where the neck or the cervical spine moves forward away from its natural position.
We adopt this incorrect posture due to hours at a desk job or constant use of mobile phones and gadgets.
Every time we move our heads forward while at the computer or using our mobile devices, our heads that weigh around 10 pounds, moves out of place from the neck, down to the torso and lower back, over the pelvis and past the legs and feet.
Many of us spend long hours at a desk or use a phone propped into one side of the shoulder. This makes the head move away from its natural position, the skull and neck to shift out of alignment.
Besides the muscles in the neck and upper back come under strain to keep the head in a suitable comfortable position.
When we repeatedly assume these incorrect postures our we forget how to hold our heads in alignment with the body making the forward head stance permanent.
Neck problems can also arise from sleep in an awkward position. The neck then slants into an angle where the ears rest ahead of the shoulders.
In younger people, neck problems can be attributed to heavy school bags, slouching while watching tv and long hours of video games.
Constant improper neck posture can lead to problems that may turn long-term if not treated on time.
The neck is sensitive to problems because of its constant wide range of motion and as it is affected by the movement of other parts of the body.
Health Issues Due to Improper Neck Posture
There are various health issues which ate caused due to improper neck posture –
1. Neck muscle strain
Poor posture has made the neck susceptible to injury, strains and possible ligament tears. Neck strain due to poor posture results in a decreased scope of mobility and consequent pain.
It can interfere with the performance of daily tasks and lead to symptoms such as dizziness and tingling sensations.
Neck strain leads to the stiffness that can travel to the back area and extreme symptoms may involve difficulty breathing and swallowing.
2. Disc herniation
Disc herniation occurs in young and middle-aged adults due to forces exerted on the neck. Poor posture can lead to a weakened disc which can then cause constant tears.
Poor posture leads to weak neck muscles which then causes the shoulder to round forward and the head to move ahead of its natural position.
Improper neck posture then puts pressure on the ligaments and muscles in the neck area. Even tiny misalignments of the head add weight and pressure to the neck adding up to almost 40 pounds in some cases.
This can cause sore tight necks inflammation and the symptoms can travel down to the arms.
3. Cervical spondylosis
This situation also is known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis can arise due to poor posture and cause distress to the joints and discs in your neck.
Its symptoms range from soreness and stiffness in the neck.
Holding the neck in an uncomfortable position constantly during work or while performing other tasks may cause mild to severe symptoms of cervical spondylosis.
Symptoms may range from neck stiffness, tingling, pain and muscle weakness. This condition may also interfere with the ability to perform routine tasks.
Headaches can be triggered by poor neck posture which starts with a tenderness at the neck and base of the head to travel to the forehead area with symptoms of dullness and heaviness.
These headaches start at the back of the head and travel to the front. It may also feel worse on one side of the head. They are mostly triggered by movements in the neck or prolonged uncomfortable postures.
These are also known as stress or tension headaches and can be avoided if we maintain correct neck postures. What differentiates a neck headache from a migraine or other kinds of headaches is that physiotherapy around the neck area contributes to an immediate relief of symptoms.
Besides, neck posture can also aggravate problems associated with the temporomandibular joint that connects the jaw to the skull.
Forward head postures can cause inflammation in the joint that can then lead to neck pain, popping of the jaw and headaches.
5. Crick in the neck
A crick in the neck is stiffness, limitations in movement and pain in the neck and shoulder area caused by poor neck posture.
Awkward postures while sleeping or sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time can move the neck out of position.
This causes crick neck symptoms that could possibly cause a strain on muscles and ligaments in the neck.
6. Pinched nerve in the neck
Pinched nerve in the neck centres around pain conditions caused by poor neck posture.
It could also be a symptom of the herniated disc also caused by misalignments in the neck. Poor posture causes a pinching sensation when the combined movement of the skull and neck impact nerve tissues in the neck.
Many problems can arise from a poor posture of the neck that should be addressed in time.
It is advisable to consult a professional to diagnose the problem and get treatment. A series of neck stretches and exercises can help reverse many problems.
Being conscious and making the effort to maintain your posture can prevent long-term complications.