Don't lose your head this halloween! Neck strain is avoidable...
Neck strain is often avoidable…
Halloween gives us an opportunity to talk about some interesting biomechanical facts about your head and neck. Neck strain is avoidable if you know tips to avoid it and some key facts to put perspective on many things we take for granted
Did you know?
Out bodies are designed to support both our weight, posture and movement. However, in certain postures, activities or exercises we can put additional strain on our muscles, sometimes without even realising it.
Take our heads, for example. You might not realise it but they are actually quite heavy. This Halloween, if you were to pick up the headless horseman’s head it would weigh around 5 kilograms (12 pounds). This is the same weight as a large carving pumpkin (before you start carving away). Your muscles are designed to distribute the weight down the spine to avoid neck strain or feelings of tightness, but there are definitely some postures more than others that can lead to additional strains, aches or pains. (Withhold the screams).
Neck strain from forward head posture
We all know that we need to think about our posture from time to time, but what we might not know is that good posture often depends more on good movement and mobility as opposed to how we stand or how straight or level we seem.
Having our head forward is a common thing. Most activities in every day life involve some form of forward crunch, whether you’re sitting and working at your desk, watching the television, reading a book or even pushing your shopping trolley. Whilst you might not put much thought to it your 5 kilogram head, of which about 1.5kilograms is the weight of your brain, can come under more stress. With each degree of additional flexion neck strain increases. With each degree of flexion the pull of your muscles can affect your structure and lead to aches, pains or problems
Reality check: You’re not going to lose your head (unless you’re a Zombie!)
Moving your head forwards is a common motion. It would be wrong to think you need to keep your head upright and straight all the time. That said, coming back every now and then and taking your joints to their full range of motion is often a great idea.
Your muscles are designed to support your head and there are also many other structures (such as your neck facets and how the top two vertebrae in your neck articulate with each other) that help your head to stay up. There’s no danger of your head magically falling off, but when gravity starts to add into the mix when your head is forward, the numbers might startle you.
Knowing the numbers
Your head can vary in weight, courtesy of gravitational pull, by up to 22 kilograms. Your head in proper posture will weigh around 12 kilograms (12 pounds) but at 60 degrees of forward flexion will weigh around 27 kilograms (60 pounds). Just think of all the neck strain you’re creating, just from not lifting up your tablet or phone. Give your neck a break, raise up your phone or tablet…
Getting some help
If you need a helping hand (that’s not an extra from the Addams’ Family!) you can always contact us at Connective Chiropractic. We are well trained, educated and experienced in helping with people who have biomechanical neck strain, aches and pains and even headaches that arise from it. Just click the link below to book in… No tricks, just an opportunity to treat yourself and get away from the neck strain that bothers you…
James is a fantastic chiropractor, extremely knowledgeable, taking time to explain the cause of my problem and how he can help. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. 5 stars!Helen H
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Site information updated 1st November 2017.