The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a literature review paper on March 28, 2016, that showed a connection between the loss of a normal neck curve and many types of adverse health issues.
The author begins by describing forward head posture as the condition whereby the head is projected forward of the middle of the neck. This situation would be similar to holding a bowling ball out in front of you instead of up against your body. Even though the weight of the bowling ball does not change, it is harder to hold the ball further away from your body.
This forward projection means the neck has to support the head that is out in front, and not normally balanced, resulting in more stress to the spine and neck muscles. This condition has become more prevalent with the increase use of technologies such as computers and smart phones.
The author explains how common this can be: “People spend an average of 2-4 hours per day with their heads tilted reading and texting on smart phones and similar devices. Cumulatively, this is 700-1400 hours a year of excess spine stress.”
This situation can lead to acceleration of cervical spinal degeneration, and degeneration of the intervertebral disks. This situation can also lead to a loss or reversal of the normal forward curve in the neck. This forward curve is essential to absorb shock of normal day-to-day activities. A loss or reversal of the neck curve has been show to lead to a number of health issues beyond just pain conditions.
The study also points out that abnormal head posture and curvature changes in the neck can lead to changes in normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow. The brain’s pumping of CSF is essential for normal central nervous system function. The study notes that altered CSF flow has been associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
In an overview discussion, the author noted, “Forward head posture and a decreased cervical curve affect the biomechanics of the spine. This can accelerate cervical spine degeneration, contribute to cervical myelopathy, affect proprioception, and contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.”
In the conclusion, the study author explains that head posture and the curvature of the neck is often overlooked as a causative factor in many health issues and can have a profound effect on the function of the human body: “The body is more complex than merely the sum of its chemical processes. They do not occur in a vacuum. Biomechanics influence the body as well and warrant further investigation in some pathology.”