Suffering from neck pain, shoulder pain or upper back pain? Feeling like your head juts forward? Feeling increase tension and pain in the jaw? Starting to develop regular headaches?
Could this all be related? Yes, these may be the symptoms of forward head posture.
What is forward head posture?
head posture is a common problem now in our modern lifestyle. It occurs when
the neck slants forward, placing the head further in front of the shoulders rather
than in line with the body. This is okay for short periods, however if you stay
here for prolong periods and adapt this posture this can lead to several
problems, these include:
Muscle ischaemia, overload, imbalances and pain
Tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
Increase stress on the cervical spine
Reduced cervical spine range of motion
Reduced shoulder and arm range of motion
Increase dorsal kyphosis
Decrease in height
Early signs of disc degeneration and osteophyte formation
Numbness or tingling in the arms and/or hands due to nerve compression
Causes of forward head posture:
Head leaning forward or backings for prolong periods
Poor ergonomics setting
– Sleeping with head elevated too high:
Too many pillows
Incorrect pillow high
– Texting posture maintained for prolong periods
– Result of faulty posture :
Pelvic and lumbar spine posture
– Lack of development of back muscle strength
How do I know if I have a Forward head posture?
two simple screens you try at home.
Take a side view photo of yourself
Draw a line down the mid like of
Draw a line down your ear canal
If the second line is in front of
the first line, then you have a forward head posture.
Place your back completely flat against the wall.
Make sure your shoulders, lower back and bottom are in contact with the wall.
Do not over arch your lower back
Look straight ahead
Test is positive if, the back of your head does not come into contact with the all naturally.
How to prevent forward head posture?
is the key when it comes to forward head posture. Follow these suggestions to
bulletproof your neck:
Avoid prolonged static postures
Position hand held devices (i.e.
smartphones, tablets etc) and computer screens is level with your eyes to reduced
stress on both the head and neck
Take frequents breaks from desk and
smartphones (every 30 minutes for two minutes)
Ensure you have your workstation is adjusted
to your needs.
Avoid resting or sleeping with your
pillow too high. Sleeping with your head elevated too high can cause muscles to
adapt to this position.
Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Osteopathic
treatment for Forward Head Posture.
practitioner will spend time assessing your full postural alignment to
determine where the cause of your forward head posture may arise. Following the
assessment they will explain and educate you on exactly what is going on and
how you will work together to improve your forward head posture.
The aim of the treatment will be to correct your postural alignment, muscle imbalances and restoring joint mobility and flexibility. Your chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist will spend time identifying these imbalances and prescribe specific exercises to correct this. In addition, our practitioners will provide ergonomic advice to prevent further irritation.
Hands on therapy will initially to focus on joints and soft tissue mobilization, active an passive stretches of tight muscles to de-load areas that are under tension and progressing corrective exercises to improve muscle strength and endurance, posture retraining and home exercises program to future proof your posture.
5 simple exercises you can try to help forward head posture.
1. Neck stretch
Sit upright on a chair
Place your hand on the collarbone on the
opposite side to which you have rotated.
Pull the skin on the collar bone downwards
Rotate your head to one side and extend your
neck, then look up and back further stretching your neck
Hold for 30 seconds
Repeat 2 times
2. Chest stretch
Stand with both forearm down a doorframe around
Keeping your forearm on the wall, take one step
forward until you feel a stretch across your chest
Try this exercises at different angles to target
different areas of tightness
Hold for 30 seconds
Repeat 2 times
3. Thoracic mobility
Lie on your back with a foam roller over the
middle to upper back
Place your hands over your shoulders to support
Exhale an allow your upper back to stretch over
the foam roller
Avoid letting your rib cage flare out
Continue this movement rhythmically, changing
the level at which the foam roller lies if you need to.
4. Chin tucks
Start in a seated position with your shoulders
Looking straight forward
Tuck your chin in, as to resemble a double chin
Hold this position for 5 second and repeat 20
5. Diamond press
Lie on your front with your palms face down on
the floor and your elbows bent
Make a diamond shape with your arms, resting
your forehead on the backs of your hands
Ensuring you keep your gaze at the back of your
hands, press your hands and forearms into the floor
Lift your head and chest up and tuck your chin
into your chest with this movement
You should feel the muscles in your back working
to do this movement
Hold this position before you slowly lower
yourself back down to the starting position
It is important to understand that Forward Head Posture develops over a long period of time, so do not be discouraged if you do not see immediate results. Try these exercises out and if you are having any trouble with any of these exercises or would like to progress further speak to our chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist.