If the finding of a recent study (conducted albeit by our “friends” at the University of Tennessee) are in fact true, the size of the average American’s head is increasing. Don’t worry we are not all going to wake up tomorrow with a head the size of our favorite college mascots. While the study lists a variety of possible reasons for this phenomenon, let us focus on what this means for your spine.
One of the functions of our spine, specifically our cervical spine, is to balance/support the weight of our head atop our body. So as our heads get bigger (some of us more than others) we effectively increase the load on the cervical vertebral discs as well as the supporting musculature in the region. This is also true of forward-drawn heads (or a posture in which the head is forward of it’s neutral position above the shoulder). In either case good head posture is critical for good overall body posture to prevent rounded shoulders, chronic back pain and muscle fatigue. Many patients who suffer from chronic headaches can find the root of their symptoms in head posture issues.
While our Vols friends in Tennessee may often accuse those of us here in Gainesville of having big heads, it appears that all American’s heads are in fact growing not just Gator fans.