Forward Head Posture, a Corporate Nightmare

Forward head posture is a corporate nightmare. Poor posture is a fundamental factor in keeping employees healthy and increasing their longevity and productivity in the workplace. Big businesses and small businesses simply can’t ignore the important role that posture plays in meeting their yearly goals.

The corporate bottom line is greatly affected by employees’ postural decline.

The number one reason for absenteeism among employees is due to musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders are a result of prolonged postural distortion patterns. Forward head posture, one of the most common postural distortions, is directly related to neck pain and disability.

The Research Says…

  • Patients with a smaller craniovertebral angle have a greater degree of forward head posture, and the greater the forward head posture, the greater the disability (Ho Ting Yip et al., 2008).
  • Sitting at work for more than 95% of the workday is a risk factor for neck pain. Activities that stimulate anterior neck flexion, such as looking down at a computer screen is correlated with neck pain (Ariens et al., 2000).
  • Patients with persistent neck pain have a reduced ability to maintain an upright, proper postural presentation. These patients demonstrated impaired activation of the longus colli and the longus capitis musculature (Falla, 2007).
  • According to the National Statistical Office, with an increasing amount of people in possession of a computer, and an extended internet network, the weekly mean time that a person will spend at a computer has dramatically increased, from 5.9 hours in 1997 to 14.6 hours in 2003 (Kang et al., 2012).

Consequences of Forward Head Posture…

  •  Tension-type headache presentation is the most frequently occurring headache disorder seen in adults. Population-based studies indicate 1-year prevalence rates of 38.3% for episodic tension headaches. Fernandes-de-las-Penas (2005) showed that increased forward head posture is correlated with the frequency of tension headaches that patients experience.
  • The results of another study suggest that forward head postures during computer-based work may contribute to some disturbance in the balance of healthy adults (Kang et al., 2012).
  • Chester (1991) reported that severe neck pain was associated with decreased balancing ability. Neck trauma and vestibular impairment contributes to abnormal biofeedback, the function of maintaining body balance. Additionally, it might change torque required to maintain posture, which is associated with reduced balance controlling ability.
  • Moreover, it was reported that neck pain or inflammation of the cervical spine reduced sense in the joints, thus causing abnormal proprioception, which led to posture imbalance (Barrett et al., 1991).

The research clearly demonstrates that being seated and working at a computer has a serious affect on the postural system of the body. Poor postural design is an unfortunate side effect of the electronic age.

Although computers make so many things possible for corporations, they are also one of the most significant contributing factors to postural decline of your employees.

It is encouraged that corporations take control of this situation, as having proper posture is in the best interest of the employees and the corporations.

Ariens, G et al. (2000) Are neck flexion, neck rotation, and sitting at work risk factors for Neck Pain? Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58 (3) 200.

Barrett DS, Cobb AG, Bentley G. (1991) Joint proprioception in normal, osteoarthritic and replaced knees. J Bone Joint Surg Br, 73: 53-56.

Chester, J. (1991) Whiplash, postural control and the innerear. Spine 7: 716-720.

Falla, D. et al. (2007) Effect of Neck Exercise on Sitting Posture in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain Physical Therapy, 87(4) 408.

Fernandez-de-las-penas, C. et al. (2005) Forward head posture and neck mobility in chronic tension-type headache: a blinded, controlled study. Cephalalgia, 26 314-319.

Ho Ting Yip, C. et al., (2008) The Relationship Between Head Posture and Severity and Disability of Patients with Neck Pain. Manual Therapy, 13 148-154.

Kang, J. et al. (2012) The Effect of Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Worker. Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine, 36 98-104.

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