3 Steps To Correcting Forward Head Posture

forward-head-postureForward head posture is arguably the most common postural fault we see. Ideally the head should be in a well-balanced position maintained with minimal muscular effort where the ear lobe is directly in line with the middle of the shoulder joint.  Faulty alignment is where the ear is forwards of the shoulder and can be due to factors such as prolonged sitting at a desk, extended use of computers, incorrect sleeping positions and sedentary lifestyles. Every inch the head moves forward equates to an extra 4.5kg causing not only neck, shoulder and upper back tension and pain, due to the muscles of the neck and upper back are constantly contracted and strained, but it is also associated with headaches, nerve compression, fatigue, increased blood pressure and a reduced ability to breathe (click here to read more about Posture and Breath). Forward head posture can pull the entire spine out of alignment as when the head moves forwards the centre of gravity shifts causing the upper back to move backwards which in turn causes the hips to tilt forwards leading to not only head and neck pain but also mid and low back issues. In order to correct forward head posture we need to  mobilise the cervical vertebrae, releasing the tight neck extensors and strengthen the neck flexors.

Self myofascial release are very effective in reducing restrictions in this area.

Myofascial release1. Lying supine with knees bent. Place a tennis ball to the side of the spine in the upper back area. Use a block or cushion to support the head and keep the pressure from the tennis ball manageable. Find a sore spot and hold the position for 10-20 seconds until it releases. Then slowly move to find another sore spot. Two tennis balls can be used on either side of the spine.

To mobilise the cervical spine lie supine, knees bent with the head resting on a half inflated mini ball, 1. Slowly draw small circles with the nose in each direction 2. Slowly nod the head, imagine you are drawing an arc with your nose

To strength and re-balance the neck extensors and flexors, sit in a neutral position Isometric Neck Exercises 1

1. Place a loose fist under the chin and gently press upwards without letting the head move. Hold for 5-10 seconds then release.

Isometric neck exercises 2

2. Repeat with the palm of the hand against the side of the face.

References

Muscles Testing & Function with Posture and Pain. Kendall et al

Image from www.eziahp.com