What is Anterior Head Syndrome?

It is no secret that technology is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives. Cell phones and tablets can be very convenient, and there is no denying that they have made life a lot easier for some people. But, there is one big downside that people are just beginning to talk about: Anterior Head Syndrome.

What Is Anterior Head Syndrome?

Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS) is defined as a primary, anterior shift of the head and cervical spine greater than 30mm that may result in one or more secondary conditions.

How does someone develop AHS?

It doesn’t take much effort to see that there is a common posture associated with heavy technology use. Just go to the mall and walk by the food court, I bet you will notice multiple people sitting the same way: head forward, eyes down, shoulders hunched forward and bending at the mid back. This position is becoming far more common with young kids and teenagers as smart phones and tablets are introduced to them at younger and younger ages.

Now, before this comes off as a “War on technology”, it is important that we realize that the problem begins in the position we use the technology in, not the use of the gadget itself. My wife and I recently went to our dentist for our periodic cleanings and I couldn’t help but notice the poor position the dentist and hygienist had to be in to do their jobs. It isn’t hard to see that being in that position for eight hours per day, 4-5 days per week really allows the time in that position to add up. That being said, how many other occupations put the spine in compromised positions? Then, add screen time when we get home and watch the time under stress pile up.

Before the question comes up, no, Anterior Head Syndrome is not poor posture, but it does begin as such. AHS develops as poor posture puts stress on the cervical spine to the point where it adopts a new neuro-muscular pattern and, in some cases, changes the structure of the spine itself. Once the structure of the cervical spine shifts forward, the weight of the head also shifts forward, and as a result, the force of gravity and the weight of the head causes continuous stress and in turn, a greater shift from normal.

What are Secondary Conditions?

Secondary Conditions are exactly what they sound like: Conditions or “Symptoms” that may happen as a result of the structural changes associated with AHS. The most common Secondary Conditions related to Anterior Head Syndrome are:

  • Neck and Back Pain

  • Numbness and Tingling

  • Muscular Spasm and Tension

  • Headaches

  • Pinched Nerve

  • Herniated Disc

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Degenerative joint Disease

  • Decreased Range of Motion

  • Dizziness/Vertigo

  • Poor Sleep

  • Decreased Ability to Handle Stress

  • Poor Concentration

So, what can we do about it?

It is important to understand that some healthcare practitioners will approach AHS and its Secondary Conditions differently than we do. The common ideology is to treat and alleviate the Secondary Conditions, because that is most likely the reason you sought care in the first place. But, if you look deeper, it is easy to see that by addressing the Secondary Condition and Ignoring the Primary Condition (in this case AHS), it is the equivalent of taking the batteries out of a smoke detector. Yes, the annoying alarm stopped, but is there still a problem?

At Apex, we utilize structural radiographs coupled with a complete neuro-muscular scan in order to evaluate the presence and severity of AHS, as well as, other potential neuro-spinal issues.

Then, we use that information to create a comprehensive, personalized approach to your condition. We look for the underlying shifts in the spine and then utilize Specific Neuro-Spinal Corrective Adjustments to correct them.

For more information on our approach to Neuro-Spinal Chiropractic Care or to learn more about us, please visit our website: www.apexchirond.com or give us a call at 701-852-5290 to schedule your consultation today.