The forward head posture is a relatively common issue among people. The head is positioned in front of the body due to a bad posture – practically, the ears go ahead of the vertical line of your body. The correct posture implies keeping the ears aligned with the shoulders. The issue is often overlooked by sufferers, but people around them will find it easier to spot it.
The forward head posture can cause a series of adverse effects that may affect the quality of life. For example, neck pain is one of the most common effects of posture. Other than that, stiffness and a bad gait may also occur. In the long run, the posture can lead to rounded shoulders – a condition referred to as kyphosis.
Learning how to fix forward head posture is not that difficult, though. In fact, the good news is a bit of dedication, attention to your posture, and exercises can fix it. There are lots of exercises to try out, but you also need to focus on maintaining a good posture. Whether you are at work or walking down the street, remember about the posture and fix it.
In popular culture, the forward head posture is also referred to as a nerd’s neck. Sometimes, it could be called the text neck. It is more common in those who spend a lot of time in front of their computers, hunching over their monitors. The same goes for those using smartphones or laptops for long periods of time. Now, what kind of exercises should you go for and how do you do them by the book?
How to fix forward head posture
1. Chin tucks
The chin tuck exercise is fairly simple and will not require too much work – nothing to worry about, you will not have to go through a whole workout in the morning. The exercise is easy and will help to strengthen the top side of the body – especially the upper extensors. These muscles are responsible for aligning the shoulders and head.
- The exercise begins in a standing position
- Find a clear wall and stand up against it
- Your feet should be slightly apart – shoulder width
- Make sure the upper back is actually touching the wall
- As you look forward, slightly tuck the chin down
- With the head in this position, push it back until it touches the wall
- Hold this position for about five seconds
- Rest for a few seconds, then repeat it over a couple of minutes
Another cause of your head moving forward is in the chest muscles – if they are too tight, your head will be inevitably pushed forward. In other words, you need to stretch them out. Focus on pectoralis minor and major. Once these muscles are relaxed, your head and shoulders will find it more comfortable to stay pulled back. Maintaining a good posture is directly affected by these muscles.
There are more exercises you can try in the morning once you get out of bed.
- Stand up in the doorway and face one of the room corners
- Your forearms should be placed against each wall
- Elbows must go a bit under the shoulder level
- Start leaning forward while supporting yourself on the elbows
- When leaned enough, you should feel a bit of pressure in the chest. You should feel it right under the collarbone.
- Maintain the posture for around a minute
- Relax for half a minute and do it again
- Perform three repetitions
All in all, these stretches will not fix the issue straight away, but they represent a good start of the day to maintain a healthy posture. A few minutes when you start the day will work wonders in the long run. Make sure you stop if you feel any pain – stretch until you feel it, but without causing pains.
2. Change your environment
Learning how to fix forward head posture also implies making some changes to your environment. Whether you work at home or in front of a computer in the office, hunching your back and adopting an unhealthy posture is perfectly normal. Your workstation requires some upgrades in order to encourage the right posture then.
So, what can you do about it? First of all, raise the computer monitor – do it from the stand. Your eyes should face the top third of the screen when you maintain a healthy posture. Look straight ahead, and your eyes should meet the top 30% of the monitor.
Your keyboard and mouse are just as important. When you use them, make sure the forearms are parallel to the ground. As for your elbows, they should be bent to about 90 degrees. You can fix this problem by adjusting the height of the seat – the easiest way to go.
Ideally, your chair should also have a headrest. You should keep the back of the head against the headrest – make sure you always feel it. If you still end up moving your neck forward, get some reminders on the phone. Whenever it rings, you know it is time to double-check your posture and adjust it accordingly.
3. Get a cervical pillow
It pays off trying to tackle this issue from all directions – even while you sleep. Investing in a cervical pillow is a great idea. You can often find such pillows under different names – such as orthopedic pillows too. It has a unique shape – the central part has an inward curve that imitates the natural position of the cervical spine and head. Instead of having your head flexed, it will stay in a neutral situation.
The same results can be achieved if you sleep on the back and use a rolled towel. Stick it under the neck and forget about your classic pillow. There are no clinical studies that suggest one type of pillow or another, though. Therefore, you can make this decision with your personal needs in mind. Make sure the pillow fits and feels comfortable.
Yoga is excellent for stretching and other similar issues, and it will most likely work wonders against the forward head posture as well. Most poses out there will relieve tension in one part of the body or the other, but certain positions will work on the shoulders and neck – especially if you also experience pains from this issue.
One of the simplest poses implies standing up. Make sure the feet are aligned with the hips. Start bending forward – do it gently. At the same time, you can also start bending the knees. Your hands will most likely make it to the floor – you can use the lower legs for reference as well. Once in this position, start tucking the chin in. Your head and neck will start relaxing then – do not apply too much pressure.
If it feels comfortable, start moving your head in a circling movement. You can also do it from one side to another – whatever helps. Such moves will relieve tension in the neck. They must be performed gently, rather than in a quick manner. Whether or not you perform the moves, the yoga pose should be maintained for more than a minute. When done, stand gently, roll the spine and bring your arms up – your head comes last.
Improving the posture will reduce the unusual appearance and promote flexibility and strength. There are lots of poses and exercises to give you a hand. Make sure you understand what a good pose means, though. Discover the best pose and what it feels like in any position – while walking, sitting down or standing up.
Apart from exercises and practice, good posture also involves awareness. If you are not aware of this issue or what a healthy posture means, you will never be able to get it done. If the posture is not right, work through exercises and practices.
5. Check your posture and determine the optimal position
Not sure what a good posture means? Unsure how to fix forward head posture? Even if someone tells you that you suffer from this condition, you need a feel of what good posture means. There is a simple test for it, though. Find a wall and stand against it. Make sure everything touches the wall – feet, hips, shoulders, and head. Focus on the arms and move them up and down – go against the wall for about 10 times. As you walk away from the wall, your posture should be alright. What does it feel like? Take a look in the mirror – what does it look like?
Whenever you feel like you are using the wrong posture, you can simply try this exercise and get it sorted straight away. It takes less than a minute.
6. Ask for a doctor’s advice and tips
Generally speaking, you will not need a doctor to fix the forward head posture. But on the same note, you may also experience sensations that ask for a doctor’s advice and tips. There are more side effects associated with the forward head posture, and painful sensations are among the most common ones. At some point, pains can become so harsh that they will affect regular daily functions. You may experience problems while sitting down, working, or even walking to a shop.
If you experience painful sensations that affect your quality of life, a doctor will give you a more official diagnosis. Sure, you can ask someone to take pictures of yourself from more angles to determine the issue, but a doctor will give you a more specific and professional diagnosis. The examination will obviously be more detailed.
While this is not a general rule, the forward head posture may also be a side effect of a different condition. A bone malformation may also lead to such problems, for example. The doctor will be able to relax muscles or help you overcome pain through medication, but you will need to sort the cause out and opt for physical therapy too. A chiropractor may also be able to assist in maintaining a good posture.
7. Different types of chin tucks to try
There are more types of chin tucks out there, and each of them can help. Based on where you are or the environment, you can try out different options. For example, chin tucks are excellent when lying down too. You can do this exercise while still in bed. You must be flat on the back. Get a towel roll and stick it under the neck. Your chin should be tucked in. Return to the normal position and repeat. Maintain each position for about 30 seconds – a few repetitions will do.
The more exercises you try out, the easier it is to learn how to fix forward head posture because it becomes natural. This forward neck stretch is similar to the classic chin tuck. Whether you are sitting down or standing, you will have to tuck the chin in. Use two fingers. The other hand should go on top of the head. Pull your head towards the chest – use the hand on top to push a little and apply more pressure. Once you feel it stretched, hold the position for about 20 seconds. Repeat a few times.
As a short final conclusion, the forward head posture is a very common affection today, mostly because lots of people spend hours a day bent over a smartphone or a laptop. The affection will affect multiple functions of the body. The body alignment will be affected too, leading to even more adverse effects – more importantly, it can cause severe pains that will affect your lifestyle.
Learning how to fix forward head posture is not that difficult, though. While painkillers and medications can target the effects of this problem, you have to work on the root cause. You need stretching and exercises to get the job done. You must be aware of it and correct yourself whenever you notice a bad posture. Perform such exercises throughout the day, and fixing the problem will be a matter of time only.
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