The 42 Pound Head!

The 42 Pound Head!

Being a Pilates Instructor I have a great interest in the way the body works, particularly the spine. Pilates is all about proper body mechanics, alignment, and balance between strength and flexibility. So naturally I find the following tid bit fascinating and thought I’d share. Most of us are walking around with a head much too heavy, probably somewhere around 42 lbs instead of the normal 10-12lbs. You probably don’t even realize it, nor are you aware of what it’s doing to your body. Most of us walk around with headaches and back pain all day long and ‘just get used to it’. Well have a look below, not only is bad posture uncomfortable, it can cause some serious side effects down the road.

The following comes from Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3:

“It’s not uncommon to have clients walk into your office sporting a 12 pound head that’s migrated three inches forward of their shoulders. You know prior to palpation that their cervical and capital extensors (semispinalis, splenii, longissimus and upper traps) are in a losing battle attempting to isometrically restrain 42 pounds against the unrelenting force of gravity (Fig 1).

The cervical and thoracic myofascia really take a beating from our society’s addiction to prolonged sitting. It’s not so bad in the early stages when muscles are only firing at about 4% of their maximum voluntary contraction ability.

But, as Sato and fellow researchers found, a negative metabolic state, i.e., reduced blood and lymph flow, triggers fatigue and neck pain when this posture is maintained for over 10 minutes.

  1. Ligamentous laxity (creep) has also been linked to excessive spinal flexion from gravitational exposure.
  2. Since ligaments are responsible for protecting inter-vertebral discs and facet joints, any disruption in integrity predisposes the neck to future injury. Once a tissue is strained, it has difficulty returning to its original length…..” Read More

The pictures on this site do a fantastic job of showing what bad posture does to the body, so even if you don’t have time to read the entire article at least check out the pics… then check out your posture!! If you have any more questions or want more help, by all means, come to my Pilates class! In the mean time; your pelvis is a bowl of water – don’t spill it!, pick your ribs off your hips and get your earrings over your shoulders!!

Jessica Slonski, Vancouver Pilates Instructor – Kalev Fitness Solution
t: 604-568-6006