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The Physical Implications of Forward Head Tilt

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How you use technology does have a real physical impact on your body

Horns are growing on young people’s skulls, and phone use could be to blame”

Did you notice this rather startling news headline from a few weeks back?

This is the latest in biomechanics research from an Australian university. These “horns” are in fact bone spurs at the back of the skull. The theory is that these are caused by the forward tilt of the head that results from the loss of the neck’s natural curve. A big contributor to this tilt is the habitual hunched posture many of us adopt without even thinking when using our mobile devices.

That’s right – the culprit is believed to be forward head tilt (or forward head carriage) – what we as your friendly neighbourhood Kanata Chiropractors are always going on about.

As described in the article, forward head tilt, “shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion.”

Most common among young people

It’s being called the “first documentation of a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the penetration of advanced technology into everyday life.”

How did the researchers relate the prevalence of this “horn” to device use? Because it is most common, and most pronounced, in younger people versus their parents and grand-parents. In other words, the generation that has practised the greatest device use from an early age.

Which corresponds with what Chiropractors note as an increasingly common phenomenon among young people—neck and head alignment issues that were once reserved for older individuals as a result of years of poor posture over a desk/computer keyboard.

Left untreated, this “text neck” leads to arthritic degeneration of the vertebrae, which is irreversible. Such degeneration may lead to chronic pain/headaches and lost mobility, as well as impaired function in other parts of the body due to the physical stress that is put on the spinal cord.

Treatment begins with a change of habit

And now we see the evidence that it causes other odd effects – such as the growing of horns. While these bone spurs in themselves pose no obvious health risk, they do indicate how our habits with technology do have an impact on our bodies.

Remember, just about any repetitive physical task or posture that repeatedly puts some part of the body under strain ultimately will have some negative effect.

The good news is that an issue like text neck can be addressed and its negative effects reversed if the right intervention is taken, early enough. Part of that intervention is what we can do and the other part is what you can do, to police your posture and ensure you are not aggravating the condition with how you use that device. If you have any questions please give our office a call.

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