Nowadays, forward head posture is a common issue that affects, millions of people across the planet. Reasons are actually obvious and we will mention them a bit later. If you suffer from this condition, you will definitely want to know how to fix forward head posture.
Before knowing how to fix forward head posture you should know what it is
In simple words, forward head posture is defined when your ears are in front of your shoulders if we use an imaginable line. Keep in mind that your ears should be parallel with your neck and with your shoulders. This issue occurs in most people nowadays and there is an easy method used to help you check do you suffer from it.
1. Lean your body on the wall
2. Make sure your back, buttocks are leaned on the wall
3. Keep feet in shoulder width
4. Pay attention to your head
5. Is it touching the wall or doesn’t
If the answer is yes, you don’t suffer from forward head posture. Your body is in perfect alignment so you don’t have to correct anything. On the other side, you will have to fix neck posture. As you can see, your head doesn’t touch the wall, meaning that it is moved forward.
Don’t try to look up or too lean your head deliberately on the wall. This is common cheating and it will do more harm than good to you. Forward head posture is easy to detect and easy to treat, but it may cause a wide range of issues if left untreated for a longer period of time.
Causes of forward head posture
There are a lot of reasons which cause forward head posture. Basically, each time when your head is kept forward and you look down, you risk getting this issue. Our body isn’t ‘’designed’’ for this type of posture, so the mentioned issue will eventually appear. If we know that modern lifestyle mostly forces people to keep their head in this, irregular position, we can deduce why so many individuals start looking for forward head posture correction.
Although the main cause of forward head posture cannot be determined, we will have to list all the causes. Probably you will have one or more in your lifestyle. This means that you should understand which actions and movements cause a bad head posture. The most common causes include:
· Looking down for a longer period of time, while reading or typing
· Using the microscope
· Driving a car when your head is 3-4 inches of the headrest
· Sitting while your back is hunched and your shoulders are rounded
· When you carry a backpack on one shoulder only
As we have mentioned, these are the most common cause, but not the only ones. Keep in mind that each time your head is kept down for a longer period of time, your risk of developing a forward head posture.
The main thing to know is what these actions will actually cause. In essence, they affect the muscles in your neck, back head and even shoulders, which lose the ability to support your head properly. An interesting fact was discovered in the study, where scientists determined that for every inch, your head is pushed forward, more than usual, your neck must support 15 pounds of weight more. Now imagine how much of additional weight your neck muscles must support when your head is pushed 3-4 inches forward.
Forward head posture occurs due to hypotonic and hypertonic (lengthening and shortening) of the muscles. Some of the most commonly affected muscles include rhomboid, pectoral, lavater and etc. When they are affected, they lose the ability to keep the head in natural position, which is manifested as a forward head posture.
Severity of forward head posture
Before knowing how to fix neck posture you should know what are the symptoms and side effects of this condition. Due to the muscle lengthening and shortening, your upper body won’t be able to operate properly. As such, we have issues within the muscles themselves and with the nerves.
All of this also causes blood stagnation. It is a condition in which blood is kept at the same place longer than usual. This increases the level of toxins in the body and can cause further issues. The longer you suffer from the forward head posture, the more severe those issues will be. As such, it is always better to start fixing the forward head posture as soon as possible.
Pain is common as well. Most people with the issue in question will start developing pain at some point. After all, the mentioned muscles are not designed to stay in the position they will when suffering from forward head posture. Sadly, most individuals start dealing with the problem after they start feeling the pain. This is the most common mistake, almost all individuals will make at some point. Pain can refer to neck, shoulders or even face, known as Trigeminal neuralgia. In addition, pain can be associated with upper and middle back as well.
There are other health complications caused by forward head exposure. Fibromyalgia, asthma, and headaches are among the most common, but we will add headaches and migraines. It is possible that you are diagnosed with chronic pain or chronic migraines, due to the fact there is no obvious reason for them. Luckily, forward head posture is obvious, so most doctors will determine that it is the main cause of your issues.
Besides all of this, the visual issue is present. It means that people who suffer from forward head posture always keep their head in front of their body, which isn’t appealing and commonly associated with some beliefs.
The bottom line here is the fact forward head posture should be solved today, not tomorrow. The process is actually simple and there are a lot of ways you can solve it. Not dealing with it is another mistake. Forward head posture won’t go away on its own and the situation will even get worse over time. Forward head posture fix should be used for a longer period of time until all the symptoms are eliminated and finally solved.
How to fix forward head posture: releasing tight muscles and making them stronger
The main thing to remember here is that some of you may suffer from lengthened, some from shortened and some from both issues we have explained earlier. Correspondingly, you will have to perform exercises which are developed in order to re-balance the posture by restoring the natural size and shape of the muscles.
A good thing to know is that all of these exercises can be performed at home and even at work. They are extremely easy and simple, but they must be performed on a regular basis. If you suffer from forward head posture and you start exercising correspondingly, but as soon as you notice an improvement, you stop, the issue will come back, meaning that forward head posture will be the main problem once again.
At this time, it would be a wise decision to check the severity of forward head posture. To do that, repeat the test we have explained at the beginning. Lean your body against the wall and try to stay in natural position, for you. Then, measure the distance between the wall and the back of your head. As you exercise, you should measure the distance a few more times, each week or each month. This will reveal the progress you make or don’t make.
There are a lot of exercises which can be used to treat forward head posture, but we will list the most productive ones.
· Relieving the occipital muscles
Occipital muscles are located at the base of your head, at the place where the neck meets the head. They are usually under a lot of tension. As such, they should be relaxed regularly, which is important when it comes to eliminating the forward head posture. To do so, you will have to lie on the floor and place a small ball under your neck. Use a tennis ball. Swing your head in both directions and repeat the step for 5 minutes. Try to do this every day.
· Stretching your neck
This is a simple exercise that can be performed anywhere. All you have to do is to place your hand on the chin and another hand on the back of the head. Allow for the weight of your hands to press the head slightly downwards. This stretches the muscles located at the back of the head. Keep the head in this position for 30 seconds.
· Side neck stretching
This is basically the same exercise as the one we have just mentioned. You will have to stand up, place a hand on the side of your head and lean it against the shoulder, while your ear is touching the shoulder. Stay in that position for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise 3 times while performing it on both sides.
· Massage the sternocleidomastoid muscle
This is a long muscle which is located between your ear (back of it) and the base of the neck. It is long and thin. All you have to do is to press it with your fingers and massage it a few times per a day. Ideally, you would turn the head in the opposite direction and massage it.
· Stretching the pectoral muscles
These muscles are located on your chest. Stretching them has a huge effect on eliminating the forward head posture. Use the door in order to get the best results. Place your palms on both sides of the door and make one step. Your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and you will feel how these muscles are being stretched. Stay in that position for 30 seconds.
When it comes to treating the issue we have here, the forward head posture exercises we have mentioned are just half of the story. They are used to relieve the muscles and to re-balance the head posture. However, they are not sufficient to permanently eliminate forward head posture.
The second part of the story is associated with the reinforcement of the muscles which have been used in the previous exercises. By making them stronger, you will make your entire upper body less likely to develop forward head posture. Strong muscles will support bones and parts of the body much better than weaker ones, therefore this is an important factor to consider. Some of the best exercises of this kind are:
· Nose nods
Nose nods are more commonly known as chin retractions. You must lie down on the floor and keep your feet on the floor as well. Now, bend the knees and look straight at the ceiling. Nod with your head while keeping neck muscles still. Repeat this 10 times, make a break and repeat again. The next week, increase the number of repetitions to 20 times and 3 sets.
· Shoulder blade squeeze
This exercise can be performed while sitting at your desk. Bend your knees at 90 degrees and keep your back straight. Then, squeeze the shoulder blades as you try to touch each other. Stay in that position for 3 seconds and repeat again. At the beginning, you will have to perform a few repetition and stay in the position for 3 seconds. Slowly increase the repetitions and the time you will hold your shoulder blades squeezed for 10 seconds.
· Advanced chin retractions
While standing, nod your head 10 times. Perform 3-4 sets. Another thing to perform here is to keep the chin in the same position while moving your upper part of the head backward.
Maintain the correct head posture
Even before you start with neck posture exercises you should start with maintaining the correct head posture. There are a few factors to consider and a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, maintaining a correct head posture while walking, sitting and moving, in general, is mandatory. Always keep your head as straight as possible. Avoid keeping it forward for any period of time.
Keep a computer screen in the eye level
Now you know how to correct forward head posture but here is the way how to maintain it in the correct position. For those who work on computers, this is a mandatory thing to know. Always keep the computer screen at eye level. Lift it with books or something else if this isn’t the case.
Do not carry heavy backpacks
When we carry a backpack, especially with one shoulder strap, it causes our shoulders to get uneven balance. As such, you definitely don’t want to carry anything heavy in a single-strap backpack or a purse. Ideally, you won’t carry anything until your muscles are strong, but if you still must, always carry a traditional backpack with two straps. It will distribute the weight evenly.
All of you who sit the entire day at front of a computer must stretch in 30-minute intervals. If you want to know how to correct bad neck posture and stay in great condition, this point is more than just important. Simple stretches while sitting on a chair or while standing upright are ideal for this purpose. You will relax your muscles and you will eliminate the risk of getting forward head posture again. In addition, this is recommended for all people who spend a lot of time sitting.
Use a posture brace
A posture brace is a simple item which is more than just important for individuals who have a forward head posture. In essence, the brace will fix your neck and head in the correct position. While wearing the brace, your muscles will adapt to the correct posture. Over time, the muscles will become strong enough to maintain that position, so you won’t need a posture brace anymore. It is definitely an important item to have and use, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting or keeping your body in non-natural position.
How long does it take to correct your posture cannot be generalized. It depends on the age, gender, and the persistence to eliminate this issue. Younger people usually need less time. It is important to know that regular exercising and following the points, we have included here can and will speed up the time needed for you to solve this problem. Don’t forget that you will need at least a couple of weeks in order to notice some impressive results. Once again, this is an individual matter.
The final word
Now you know how to fix forward head posture. This is a simple problem to solve, but it may have massive side effects on your life. It is annoying, causes pain and it doesn’t look pretty. Luckily, with the exercises and a correct lifestyle, you will be able to get the posture you want. Try to remember that you must stay persistent and must try as long as needed. Some of you will need less time, some more, but all of you will eliminate forward head posture over time.