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Posture matters. Don’t be the hunchback of Amsterdam.
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we now spend most of our waking hours perched in front of a screen or buried into our phones. We work in front of a screen, we relax in front of a screen, and we date in front of a screen. Our connected world is a world of endless opportunity, but our bodies are paying a terrible price.
Ironically, while they spent their days running, hunting, and working in the open air; spending more time slouching and sitting at desks is making us look more like our Neanderthal ancestors: all rounded shoulders, pelvic tilt and hunched back. Yet few of us ever think to visit a chiropractor.
Forward Head Posture, or “office guy syndrome,” is something chiropractor Kate Cox sees every day. “Not only does FHP give your back that ugly hunch back look, it also makes you look 10lbs heavier and 2 inches shorter than you actually are,” she said.
“The ‘old man’s hunch’ is killing your game – killing your confidence, killing your brain health and your dating life,” she added.
FHP isn’t a rare condition. A survey by Emarketer found that the average adult now spends almost six hours per day using some form of digital media. As this trend continues, many of these people will need chiropractic treatment for FHP in the coming years.
How do you stand?
It’s not just hardcore social media addicts at risk. Busy expats, particularly those working in IT and administration, are putting their health on the line with every hour spent in front of a screen. Many expats in the Netherlands are either affected by or know someone affected by the dreaded “office guy” posture.
Checking your FHP at home is easy. Have a friend, co-worker, parent or kind stranger take a side profile picture of you. Your ear, your shoulder and your hips should all be in a straight line down to the floor. If your ear is in front of your shoulders, you may have Forward Head Posture.
If you’re still unsure, or for a more detailed analysis, head over to Thrive Chiropractic’s Amsterdam facility. The only clinic of its kind in the city, Thrive focuses on the identification and treatment of structural abnormalities of the spine and nervous system.
Thrive is run by Kate Cox, a chiropractor and former rugby player with the American national team. After spending ten years breaking backs she now rebuilds them for a living, bringing her education and experience with top athletes to Amsterdam.
Bad backs and brain fog
No matter how many green smoothies you drink or hours you put in at the gym after work, neglecting something as fundamental as your spine can have serious long-term consequences. Nobody wants the “Mr. Burns” look when they’re older, but looks are just one area affected by FHP.
Left untreated, FHP is a ticking time-bomb that can lead to:
- Long-term muscle strain, disc herniation, and pinched nerves
- Fatigue and lack of energy – brain fog
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back
- Headaches and migraines
- Early degeneration of the spine
- Decreased Lung Capacity
- Decreased Range of Motion
Treatment is much gentler than it looks
In so many areas of our lives, we look to escape the confines of our office-bound existence and rediscover our healthier, more primitive roots. Fitness programs like Crossfit aim to build functional strength, and adapting the paleo diet of our cave dwelling ancestors can work wonders on our overall health.
We’re not built for inactivity and processed food. Likewise, human beings aren’t born to slouch. Bad posture is something we learn through years of bad habits. However, while fixing the problem can take time, the good news is that FHP isn’t permanent.
And the remedy for FHP doesn’t involve invasive surgery, funny diets or strange exercises, but safe and scientifically proven treatments.
The more the head moves forward, the more the joints in the spine lock up. Every inch of forward head posture can increase the load on these joints by 4.5 kilos. Thrive Chiropractic uses various gentle techniques to unlock these joints and get your head back up where it belongs. These techniques can often be very effective.
According to Kate, Thrive’s approach differs from conventional chiropractors in that Thrive doesn’t simply treat the symptoms and reduce pain by addressing muscle spasms and inflammation. Instead, Thrive’s techniques dig deeper to address the underlying issues with the “foundation.”
“Essentially the spine and back are like the foundation of a house. With time weaknesses in the foundation can cause cracks as well as wall, window and floor deviations. Essentially by not addressing the foundation, these problems will return. The key to Thrive’s treatment is to get your spine to reach as much of its normal structure and function as possible,” she said.
A hunchback no more
Aside from insuring your future self against a laundry list of health problems, tackling FHP now has some immediate payoffs. You’ll stand taller, feel focused, appear more confident and assertive, and set your body working towards its maximum capacity. Who wouldn’t choose to look like a Greek god instead of a Greek monster?
If you’re one of the lucky ones who has managed to avoid FHP thus far, congratulations! Using an ergonomic desk, strengthening the muscles of the core and upper body, deep breathing exercises, and sleeping on a thin pillow can all help maintain good posture.
Otherwise, schedule a free consultation at Thrive Chiropractic’s Amsterdam office and take your posture back. Call 020 8454 934, or visit the website.
Kate Cox’s journey into chiropractic health began with a childhood neck injury she received playing sports. Training with top athletes and competing as a member of team USA in the 2006 rugby world cup, she built up an impressive knowledge of the workings and mechanics of the human body.
Kate’s athletic career brought her to the next stage in her life: serving and helping the public. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Iowa and her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Georgia. She is currently working towards her masters in Functional Neurology with the Carrick institute.
Living in the Netherlands since 2009, Kate is married and has two children. When she’s not in the office, she can be found building sandcastles, training, and exploring beautiful Amsterdam.