• Pablo Aguilar

WHAT IS FORWARD HEAD POSTURE?

Forward head posture is a postural distortion pattern of the head and neck. When your head goes forward into anterior translation or forward flexion the amount of pressure on the neck and shoulders increases.


You can have a friend check to see if you have forward head posture by performing a simple test. From the side your ears should be aligned over your shoulders. If your ears are forward in relation to your shoulders, you may be suffering from forward head posture.


Forward head posture can be caused from looking downward with forward flexion for prolonged periods of time like while looking at a smartphone or tablet or reading. It can also be caused by jutting the head forward for prolonged periods of time while viewing a computer screen or sitting with slouched posture.


HOW CAN FORWARD HEAD POSTURE AFFECT

YOUR HEALTH?

If forward head posture is left uncorrected, it may impact your health in multiple ways. For example, forward head posture may be a contributing factor to these health affects:

◊ Decreased neck range of motion

◊ Respiratory dysfunction such as hyperventilation or mouth breathing

◊ TMJ dysfunction

◊ Carpal tunnel syndrome

◊ Impaired balance



EXERCISES TO DO AT-HOME:

1. NECK RETRACTIONS

◊ Stand up straight in proper posture


SYMPTOMS OF FORWARD HEAD POSTURE

If you have forward head posture, you may be experiencing these symptoms, or can develop these symptoms later on:

◊ Neck pain

◊ Shoulder tightness

◊ Headaches

◊ Migraines

◊ Jaw pain

◊ Pain down your arm

◊ Place your finger on your chin and retract your chin back so your ears are aligned over your shoulders

◊ Keep your eyes parallel to the ground

◊ Retract your neck back and hold for 10 seconds

◊ If you are standing against a wall, press the back of your head into the wall and hold

◊ Perform 5 repetitions holding for 10 seconds each


2. CERVICAL DISTRACTION

◊ Stand up straight in proper posture

◊ Place a resistance band behind your neck, holding on to the band with both hands

◊ BE CAREFUL NOT TO CROSS THE RESISTANCE BAND AROUND YOUR NECK

◊ Drop your head back so your head is distracted over the resistance band ◊ Hold for 30 seconds

◊ You can perform cervical distraction with a towel around the back of your neck if you don’t have a resistance band

◊ Please note: If this feels uncomfortable or you feel dizzy, nauseous, a headache, or light-headed, stop performing this exercise immediately


3. POSTURE ANGELS

◊ Begin by standing in proper posture

◊ Extend your arms overhead

◊ Bring your arms to 90 degrees on both sides (or lower if you can) by tightening the muscles between your scapulae

◊ Repeat by bringing your arms to 90 degrees, then straightening again

◊ If performing against a wall, keep the back of your head, your back,

and your arms touching the wall

◊ Perform 10 times with slow and controlled repetitions


ESSENTIALS:

1. PERFORM POSTURE BREAKS

◊ Reverse the pressure of gravity by going “anti-gravity”

◊ Bring your arms straight out to the sides

◊ Press your chest forward

◊ Drop your head back

◊ Hold for 30 seconds

◊ Perform for 30 seconds every hour of your workday


2. BRING YOUR SMARTPHONE UP TO EYE LEVEL

◊ Bring your elbows in to your body so your arms are supported

◊ Hold your phone up with your arms supported

◊ Navigate your phone with your device up, not looking down


3. RAISE YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR

◊ Place something such as a box or books underneath your computer monitor to raise your screen up to eye level

◊ Look forward at your screen instead of slouching your shoulders and allowing your head to translate forward