Are You Experiencing Neck Pain?

Are You Experiencing Neck Pain?

Smallest and Most Vulnerable

The neck is an upward extension of your spinal column.  Of the 24 moveable vertebrae of the human spine, the seven neck vertebrae are the smallest.  Because these vertebrae are the smallest, they are also the most vulnerable to something going wrong, especially since they support a relatively heavy structure – the head, which on average weighs about 15 pounds.

Between these seven neck vertebrae are six flexible pads, known as discs which fit between them.  Together, these structures form 48 different joints – all capable of undergoing misalignment error and postural compression causing serious problems not only in the neck, but traveling into other areas such as the head, upper back, arms and even your hands, wrists and fingers.

Of greatest importance, through your neck run millions of nerve fibers that make up your spinal cord.        With the head sitting on top of the vertebrae of the neck like a ball on a stick, the weight of the head, IF imbalanced, can create numerous pain problems in the neck, head, shoulders, arms and hands, as well as many documented disease processes.

The most frequently found form of imbalanced weight bearing in the neck is known as Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS), a condition caused by mechanical dysfunction of the vertebra in the upper neck.  It is the most common cause of neck pain, and leads to severe arthritis and disc disease in the neck as the condition progresses.

Identifying Anterior Head Syndrome

Anterior Head syndrome is characterized by a forward leaning head on top of the shoulders.  Besides headaches, neck, shoulder, arm and upper back pain, one of the most common complaints from people with AHS is that their head feels heavy.

To identify AHS, stand normally with your hands by your side.  Look straight ahead and have a friend look at you from the side.

If you have good neck posture, the center of your ear will be directly above the center of your shoulder. However, if you have AHS, from mild to severe, you will see that the center of our ear canal sits forward of the center of your shoulders.

Like a Watermelon Sitting On Your Shoulders

According to research conducted at the Mayo Clinic, each forward inch the head slips forward of its normal center of gravity creates the effect of adding 10 extra pounds to the weight of the head, which the neck is now supporting.  Therefore, two or three inches of forward displacement adds an additional 20 or 30 pounds of weight!

The effect is much like adding the weight of a watermelon on top of your shoulders to carry around each day, and is the primary reason why so many people with AHS complain of pain and that their head “feels heavy.”

As time passes, this additional weight creates more and more pressure; more pain and more wear and tear on the discs and vertebra leading to decayed, bulging and herniated disc as well as arthritis in the neck.  As the head leans even farther forward, it can decrease lung capacity by as much as 30%, leaving less oxygen for metabolism often resulting in weight gain.

Additionally, Anterior Head Syndrome reduces your body’s ability to create endorphins, often leading to decreased energy, depression, fatigue and a general loss of the feelings of well-being.

Leads to “Granny Hump”

Once AHS develops, it’s then a simple matter of gravity pushing down upon the imbalanced head causing it to grow worse through a lifetime.  Left unaddressed or improperly addressed, it frequently leads to hunchback.

Nearly every older person you see with hunchback first started out as a simple form of AHS.

If caught in time, Anterior Head Syndrome can be reversed.  If it is allowed to progress into a chronic condition, significant pain syndromes, disease processes and permanent dysfunction can develop.  There does come a time when too late is too late.

For more information neck pain coming from Anterior Head Syndrome as well as pain from other postural problems, please go to

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy at 937-339-5556.

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.  He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.  (Include Picture)

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