It is well known that bad posture is not only a matter of looking weak or hunched over. It can actually lead to a variety of health problems such as chronic back pain, sore muscles, and even gastrointestinal distress.
But there are other less obvious ailments caused by bad posture as well. Many people have complained that their poor posture is correlated with hearing problems and ringing in their ears. Is tinnitus one of the conditions that can be caused by bad posture?
Doctors are saying that yes, bad posture, specifically in the neck, can lead to tinnitus.
The specific problem that is known to contribute to systems is called Forward Head Posture.
Forward head posture is when the upper part of your spine is pushing towards the front of your body, causing your head to stick out past your body rather than to sit straight atop your shoulders.
Because it is often caused by too much reading or use of electronic devices, it has been given various names such as “text neck,” “scholar’s neck,” and “iHunch.”
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a symptom in which somebody will hear ringing or other sounds when there are no real external sounds present.
Sounds have also been described by patients as hissing, clicking and roaring,
with some people even hearing muffled music or conversation. Tinnitus is not a condition in of itself, but it is a generally a symptom of a pre-existing underlying condition.
Sometimes it is associated with loss of hearing from old age, injury to the ear, or other internal disorders. However, it is also often associated with poor posture. Usually, treating these underlying conditions causes the tinnitus to go away.
How Does Forward Head Posture Develop?
There are multiple factors that can lead to forward head posture. Strains and sprains from injuries such as whiplash can cause weakening of the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
This makes it difficult for someone to hold his or her head up straight. With so many people working on computers on a daily basis, bad habits can also lead to forward head posture.
Hunching over a laptop or onto a desk while working on a computer can put strain on the neck and the upper and lower back. Over time, this leads to curvature in the spine and resets your muscles so that your head is naturally leaning forward.
How Does Forward Head Posture Lead to Tinnitus?
There is a bundle of sensitive nerves at the where the base of the skull meets the first vertebrae in the neck. The brainstem also lies in this region.
When too much stress is put on the neck due to forward head posture, this area can become compressed and irritated.
Because the auditory canal is so close to this region, this strain can manifest itself as a ringing or other annoying sound that seems to come and go.
The more stress that is put on the neck, the more likely it is that you will experience the symptoms of tinnitus.
As a person continues to practice bad habits with posture, this tinnitus may become worse or more frequent. This nerve bundles and brain stem continue to get pinched and the symptoms are more intense as time goes on.
It is important to notice the habits that are leading to this bad posture and thus creating the effect of ringing or other noises in the ears.
What Are The Habits That Cause Forward Head Posture?
If you are in front of a computer or other electronic device for long periods of time, you will likely find yourself hunching over in order to get a better view of the screen or to read smaller texts.
Once you initiate this hunch, the chance that you remain in that position becomes greater.
This leads to loads of strain on the neck and the back, but as your muscles become used to this position, they will train themselves to stay in it.
You’ll notice that your head starts leaning forward even when you are standing and walking.
Your muscles have now been trained to hold the forward head posture even though it is not natural for your body to do so.
If you are an artist or an architect who is sketching on a desk for hours at a time, you may also be contributing to forward head posture.
Hunching over a paper and writing can put a lot of strain on the neck and back muscles, leading to the poor posture and possibly tinnitus. Fortunately, there are corrections that can be made.
What Should I do if I think I have Tinnitus?
If you start to experience ringing or other noises, the first thing you should do is see your doctor.
Only they can properly diagnose your symptoms. There are a variety of conditions that can lead to tinnitus, so it is important to rule out other possible factors.
Your doctor will be able to perform tests and analytics to determine what is causing you to hear this ringing. If he suspects that the tinnitus has come about as a result of forward head posture, he will recommend certain courses of action to improve your posture and eventually eliminate the ringing in your ears.
Tinnitus can come and go with varying levels of intensity. Before you see doctor, make a log of the times you are experiencing the noises. Note how intense and how frequent they are so that your doctor can get a better sense of your patterns.
He may be able to notice certain patterns that will suggest why you are suffering from this. If you are noticing it specifically when you are at work or looking at a computer, there is a good chance that it is because of forward head posture.
How to Correct Forward Head Posture
There are several steps you can take to improve your posture and reverse the instance of forward head posture in your life. It developed because of poor habits and it can be eliminated by practicing good habits every single day.
You must remain conscious of your posture and actively tell yourself that you need to do these things in order to get rid of your tinnitus.
Neck exercises are an excellent way to begin your journey back to proper posture.
Try tilting your head forward and leaning your chin on your chest. This may be painful, but it is important to hold it for 5 seconds before returning to a neutral position.
After this, turn your head as far as you can to one side until you feel a stretch. Hold this for 5 seconds, then return to neutral position and repeat in the other direction. Next, you can tilt your head upwards until you feel a stretch in your throat.
Hold for 5 seconds and return to your normal position. The final exercise is the side neck tilt, in which you tilt your head towards one shoulder, holding for 5 seconds and then repeating on the other side.
These exercises can be performed throughout the day and they will help immensely, but there are several more things that you have to take care of. You need to set up your workstation to be as ergonomic as possible and to discourage poor posture while you are sitting.
Make sure your chair is set up so that your feet are flat on the floor and that your elbows are at 90 degrees when your hands are resting on your desk.
The top of your monitor should be aligned with your eyes so that you will be looking straight when using your computer rather than crooking your neck or hunching over.
It is best to sit up straight, but if you must, leaning back is far better than crouching forward because it keeps your spine aligned in a healthy position.
You might also consider getting a tilted standing desk, especially if you are an artist or someone who is using a pen and paper throughout the day. This will help elongate your spine and keep you in a better position.
Whether you opt for this or not, it is important to get up at least once an hour and walk around. The longer you allow yourself to sit at your desk and stare at a screen, the more likely it is that you will become fatigued and fall into bad habits.
If you are experiencing tinnitus, these are some tips that can help you end the annoying ringing in your ears. Consult with your doctor to make sure that these are right for you.
Ultimately, you want to address the cause of the tinnitus, and if yours is because of bad posture, it is important that you focus on fixing that in order to enjoy a ring-free life.