You may have superpowers in the virtual world of gaming. But the moment the game ends, a stab of pain shoots through your neck. If you ignore the warning signs, you may develop forward head posture, which could lead to headache and toothache, say physiotherapists.
Slouching and walking with your head slumped forward while looking into the computer screen, riding a bike or carrying a heavy backpack could cause forward head posture (FHP), also known as pokey chin posture. It can also be caused by your sleeping position.
Some headaches caused by FHP are misdiagnosed as migraines or cluster headaches, said physiotherapist C Anand Jothi.
"We have many patients who go to doctors with constant headaches. The headache disappears once the posture is corrected," said Jothi, who owns a physiotherapy institute in city. Half the patients this institute treats each month have FHP, he said.
The right sitting posture is one in which the tip of the ear is almost in line with the shoulder. With every inch that you put your head forward, the weight on the spine increases by 5kg, said Jothi, who has been conducting awareness programmes on correct posture in schools and other institutions.
FHP starts with pain in the neck and shoulders, and gradually impacts adjoining muscles, leading to pain in the upper head and toothache. "In advanced cases, muscles tighten and can lead to giddiness," said M Hamsraj, chief consultant physiotherapist at a physiotherapy centre in city. Extreme cases can involve arthritis or disc prolapse. Most patients with FHP are between 25 and 40, say therapists. "The problem starts from childhood for some. Children who put their head forward constantly while listening to teachers or looking at the blackboard tend to maintain the same posture throughout," said Hamsraj.
FHP can be avoided by simply correcting the sitting, standing and driving postures with exercises. "We treat FHP by correcting postures. We also use manipulative therapy, in which we use our hands to find the exact spot of pain and treat it. The treatment could take up to four weeks," said Jothi.
The physiotherapy department in Government General Hospital also does manipulative therapy. Senior physiotherapist Krishnan said, "We get lot of patients with muscle or joint pain. We diagnose the area of the pain use physiotherapy to treat the problem. This doesn’t involve any medicine and there are no side effects."
The treatment doesn’t stop with therapy. The patient has to correct his or her posture to avoid further problems, said Hamsraj. "In addition to treatment, we suggest muscle strengthening exercises. Continuing with the exercises is a must," he said.
Times of India
10 Sept 2013