The head is like a bowling ball on top of the spine. The average head weighs 8-12 pounds. If it is balanced directly on top of the spine and evenly over the shoulders its weight will put little torque on the muscles of the neck and actually balance effortlessly. Look around you at someone close by. Is their head on straight? Find someone walking and see what there head looks like. Spend the rest of the day looking and if you find five people that have their head over their shoulders and good posture I’d be shocked and amazed.
What is the position of your head as you look at the computer screen? Are you looking straight ahead at the screen or is your head tilted slightly back and your eyes are actually cast down at the screen. When you are sitting, standing, and walking you should be looking straight ahead and your chin should be level to the ground. Most people are either looking straight down (for reasons that aren’t postural) or looking slightly up with the eyes turned down.
The position of the head and neck has far reaching effects. I might not be referring to you when I say that the back of the neck tends to shorten and tilt the head up slightly. But as you start to become aware of walking and posture you will see how many people live in this physical reality.
Tilted head syndrome affects so many things. Lets start with the nervous system. By shortening the deep muscles of the upper neck that connect the skull to the spine the nerves that help your body balance excitation and relaxation are impinged. Specifically, the nerves that affect relaxation are prevented from flowing freely. Your sinuses, which have no specific function (except maybe to lighten the weight of the head), are much happier when they are level. The vocal cords are most resonant when the chin is level to the ground. The releasing of the chin allows for a softening of the vocal ligaments, freeing them to resonate clearly. Try it. Listen and try to spot the moment that you go from resonant to nasal. As soon as the head begins to tilt we move into the nasal register and lose the clarity of voice that is available to us. Your sub-occipital muscles, the muscles connecting your head to the spine at the back are the command and control center for the spine. They work with your eyes to give guidance to movement and balance. If they are shortened as a result of this same head position, the relay of information is impeded and the effects move all the way down the spine. A tilted head affects the free flow of breath through the nasal passages.
Through these examples we start to get a clearer picture of why we carry so much tension in the neck, shoulders and lower spine. To reverse this process you must first become aware of it. Spend the next few days try to become acquainted with the position of your head as you sit, stand, and walk. After that the first step is simply to visualize the back of the neck getting longer. This is a long process that starts right now.