Correcting Forward Head Posture to Wave Goodbye to Neck Pain
So, you want to fix your forward head, that’s completely understandable, having this condition can be a real pain in the neck, literally!
Therefor, you have made the correct decision wanting to fix this problem and can find all you need right here on this page.
It’s important for you to have your head in its correct alignment because with a forward head posture, blood flow into the brain is restricted, this causes a number of issues in our daily lives.
Then there’s the increased pressure on your upper spine, every inch your head is out of alignment adds an extra 10 pounds of force on your upper spine, stretching the surrounding muscles in the process, which is what gives you that awful pain in the back and/or sides of your neck.
In short, having a forward head is caused by having your head forward too often, such as looking down at your phone, which is becoming much more common in this day and age.
According to Digital Trends, Americans devote an average of 4.7 hours per day on their phones, that’s a lot! It’s no wonder this condition has been dubbed “Text Neck”!
Spending a lot of time looking at your phone, leaning with your head forwards when at the computer, even having a backpack on, where people tend to lean their head forwards to try and counter the weight on their back, can all cause it.
What You Will Learn – Quick Links
- What is Forward Head Posture?
- What causes this condition?
- How to test for it.
- How to fix it.
- Other ways to help
Take a look next time you’re out shopping or having dinner with your family, look to see just how many people surrounding you who’s head isn’t in it’s correct alignment.
At some point most of these people will be complaining because they’ve got a pain in their neck or they’re not feeling well, you too could be one of those people if you continue to ignore this issue and do nothing about it.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture is when the muscles at the front of your neck, particularly the Sternocleidomastoid and the Scalene muscles, are tight and shortened.
While these tight muscles do indeed contribute to having forward head posture, it’s also likely your Trapezius (top shoulder), Pectoralis Major (chest) and your Deltoids (front and back shoulder) are also playing a part too.
As previously mentioned you may suffer with neck pain, have stiffness or less than normal mobility in your neck, such as struggling to look over your shoulder and even headaches that can spread to your forehead.
It’s not only your neck that will be affected, it’s also very common that people with a forward head also have rounded shoulders and hunch back, this is because your body needs to adjust in order to compensate for the changes taking place.
The part of the brain that controls your immune system, heart rate, breathing, coordination, balance etc can be affected negatively when having forward head posture because it causes a decreased blood flow into the brain.
This decreased blood flow often results in you feeling unwell, having low energy levels and it can also affect your mood.
Also, due to this decreased amount of blood going into the brain, the brain won’t function quite as well as it should and since your brain in responsible for your entire body it’s imperative that you look after it, correcting forward head posture helps by maximizing the blood flow into the brain and therefor helps the brain function as it should.
What Causes Forward Head Posture?
We’ve briefly touched on what causes forward head posture earlier on the page, here I’ve listed the most common reasons for it’s development.
I’ve done this to help give you a better understanding of some of the things you can avoid doing in order to prevent this condition from worsening.
Each of the following causes can easily be avoided
- Tilting head forwards when texting – Dubbed “text head” this one goes without saying.
- Improper sitting – Sitting with the top of your back hunched and your shoulders rounded inwards, probably while resting your arms on your knees, thighs or desk. This post will help you with that – Sit Properly to Maintain Posture
- Carrying a heavy backpack – Believe it or not, carrying a heavy backpack on your back can cause you to develop a forward head.
- Poor driving position – Sitting with your head away from the head rest while driving can eventually lead to forward head posture.
Now you know some of the most common causes for the development of this condition you can actively take steps to avoid these circumstances and thus lowering the chance of making the problem worse.
Correcting forward head posture doesn’t have to be a hard process, especially when you know what it is that’s causing the problem.
How to Tell if You Have Forward Head Posture
This simple test will show you straight away if you have a forward head, in essence, you should have a straight line running from the back of your head, though your shoulder blades and to your butt.
To test this:
Stand with your feet several inches from a straight standing wall and rest your butt against it.
Bring your shoulders to the wall and position your head in it’s ‘neutral’ position, which should be against the wall as the image suggests.
Correcting Forward Head Posture
When it comes to your head being out of alignment it’s very unlikely just one area of your body is causing it.
When you come to correcting forward head posture, I’m going to show you some of the best ways to loosen up the tight muscles that is causing it, particularly your chest, shoulders and front of your neck.
Nobody should expect instant results when fixing a forward head, it really depends on how bad the problem is for each individual and whether you are able to kick out the bad habits that lead you to develop forward head posture in the first place.
Below you will find some of the best exercises that will help when correcting forward head posture.
The Ultimate System to Fix Forward Head Posture
Click the above image to find out more.
Forward Head Posture Exercises
Exercise 1 – Nose Nods
Lay down on a flat surface such as your floor or mat with your knees bent and nose facing directly straight up to the ceiling.
Keeping your neck still, very slowly nod your head forwards about 40° or till where feels comfortable. Notice the appearance of the double chin.
After holding this position, for just a second or two, slowly bring your head back up till your nose is once again facing directly up at the ceiling.
Repeat this simple process 20 times a day, 10 in the morning and 10 in the evening.
After a week or so increase nods to 20 each set, two or three times a day.
After performing this exercise for a few weeks, try practicing this motion standing up against a wall or even away from the wall.
This exercise is designed to train your brain into making this range of motion a habit, this will help your neck remain in its neutral position when doing things such as texting on your phone and thus eliminating one cause of your forward head posture.
Exercise 2 – Pectoral Stretch
Stand in a doorway and place your left arm on the door frame so that your upper arm is parallel to the floor and your elbow is at a 90º angle.
Place your left foot in front of you about six to eight inches while keeping your right leg in the doorway and your left arm still in it’s position on the door frame.
Slightly lean into the doorway until you feel a pull in your pectoral muscles, you should feel the pull right near your armpit.
Hold this position for around 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat this exercise for the right side.
Once you have done this exercise on both sides repeat the process once more for each side.
To be most effective try performing this exercise around four times a day if you are able to.
Slouching forwards shortens your pectoral muscles (in your chest) which is just one of the muscles that is keeping your head from it’s correct alignment.
Perform this exercise two or three times daily to keep your chest muscles from becoming too tight.
Exercise 3 – Shoulder Blade Pinches
Sit upright on a chair making sure to keep your body in its correct postural alignment.
Lower your shoulders in a downward manner and then pull your shoulders back in order to ‘pinch’ the shoulder blades.
Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before releasing the hold and your shoulders go back into a relaxed state.
Repeat this process ten times for roughly four or five times a day.
Slouching forwards causes your upper back muscles to elongate and stretch, this weakens the muscles.
Here are some less obvious ways to help
– How you sleep
Sleeping with too many pillows which lift your head up, can contribute to developing forward head posture.
Using less pillows will lower your head and help relax your neck muscles during the night, better still, having just one regular pillow and one smaller pillow under your neck to support it will help fix the problem.
Posture pillows are also a great way to support your head and neck, this adjustable neck support pillow is great for those who sleep on their back or side and provides proper support for your neck no matter which of the two positions you sleep in.
This is a great way to improve your posture because you don’t have to do anything besides sleep on the pillow!
– Stop slouching!
Everyone does this, so stop doing it. Slouching forwards either at your work desk or when you’re sitting down or even when you’re looking at your phone will eventually lead to developing forward head posture.
If you work at a desk make sure to have your monitor at eye level and also sit back in your chair, your legs should be at a 90° angle with your feet flat touching the floor, more on that here.
The same can be said when using your phone, bring your phone to eye level if you can or look down at your phone without moving your neck.
So you now know some of the easiest ways in which you can improve your forward head posture.
If you want to take it to the next level then I recommend checking out Rick Kaselj and Mike Westerdal’s Forward Head Posture Fix, it’s well worth the read.
Now it’s your turn to take action, use the advice outlined above to finally get something done about your forward head and rid yourself of the neck pain that comes with it.
Fortunately you should find enough information above to help you improve on this troublesome postural issue.
Have you tried any of these exercises, if so how did you find them? Let me know in the comments below.