Forward Head Posture, a Common Factor in Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Have you seen, or do you know someone with forward head posture?  You know, when you look at someone from the side and their head is sticking out in front of their shoulders.  Did you know this type of posture is one of the most common perpetuating factors of fibromyalgia?1,3,4  This type of posture is measurable on x-ray, and clearly visable when looking at someones posture from the side.  If your external auditory meataus (EAM) or ear hole, is not over the center of the shoulder when looking at your posture from the side, you have forward head posture (FHP).

Do you have any ideas why this type of posture makes you more likely to have fibromyalgia?  Well, when your head is over your shoulder, your head is balanced on your spine.  When your head is in a forward position in front of your shoulder it places excessive strain on the muscles of your neck.  This causes the rest of your body’s posture to shift and compensate for the weight of your head.  The change in the position of your head compresses the joints of your spine, chronically fatigues the muscles of your neck, creates trigger points, causes abnormal wear and tear your spinal discs, affects your lung capacity, and affects the blood supply to your head.  FHP also makes it more likely that you will fracture your neck in a car crash where you sustain a whiplash injury.1  If your head is forward  when you sustain an injury, it loses its ability to absorb the shock of impact. 2

As you can see, FHP causes excessive stress and strain on your body.  These forces fatigue, wear down and stress your nerves, muscles, connective tissues and joints.  Over time this postural stress will causes pain, and set the stage for many of the symptoms and complicating factors that contribute to fibromyalgia syndrome.

It is important to note that fibromyalgia is not a muscle problem, but a problem with how the brain interprets pain signals.  FHP has been shown to contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.1

In our clinic, we use the only evidence based technique in physical medicine, that is supported by clinical trials to remodel the curves of your spine back towards normal.  Normal measurements for the curves in the spine have been established in some of the highest quality, most respected research journals in the world.  For detailed information on the technique we use, and the research supporting it, read our blog post here.

If you want to learn about, and read an excellent article by one of the top physicians in the world on this subject, which describes how forward head posture not only causes all the above mentioned problems, but also spinal cord ischemia (decrease blood flow to your spinal cord) and is very likely linked to chronic degenerative conditions like MS (Multiple Sclerosis), click here.

  1. Starlanyl, Devin and Copeland, Mary Ellen. 2001. Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain, A Survival Manual 2nd Edition.  Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
  2. Egoscue and Gittenes. 1998. Op. cit.
  3. Mitani YFukunaga MKanbara KTakebayashi NIshino SNakai Y. 2006. Evaluation of psychophysiological asymmetry in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. Sep;31(3):217-25.
  4. Müller WKelemen JStratz T. 1998. Spinal factors in the generation of fibromyalgia syndrome. Z Rheumatol. 1998;57

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About bshook

Hickory, NC chiropractor and functional medicine doctor. Focused in advanced physical medicine treatment of musculoskeletal injuries including: auto accidents, disc herniations, slipped discs, bulging discs, arthritis, back pain, neck pain and headaches. Dr. Shook has also had hundreds of hours of training in functional medicine. The goal of functional medicine is to identify the drivers of disease processes and work on correcting or supporting those underlying drivers or causes in order to restore or improve health. Functional Medicine has improves numerous conditions, and some commonly supported conditions include: hypothyroidism, hashimoto's thyroiditis, low thyroid, diabetes, blood sugar imbalances, fibromyaliga, peripherial neuropathy, neuropathy, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune conditions. Functional Medicine is on the cutting edge of preventative and restorative medicine, and is primarily drug free.

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