Forward head posture is a common postural problem, especially for those who work desk jobs. This postural problem is caused by bad habits formed over several years and can lead to pain, shoulder issues, problems with the jaw and even headaches.
Because you are placing the weight of your head on the front of the body, the muscles in the back of your neck are forced to work harder.
In time, this leads to chronic neck tension. It can also cause you to have a hunchback and lead to anterior tilting in the lower back and/or pelvis.
Great Video Guide – Fix Ugly Forward Head Posture
To determine whether or not you have forward head posture, you can perform a wall test.
- Stand with your back and your head against a wall. Keep your heels six inches away from the wall.
- Determine how many fingers you can place between the wall and the back of your neck.
If you can manage to fit three or more fingers behind your head, you likely have forward head posture to some degree, and you’re certainly not alone.
Nearly 90% of the adult population suffers from this postural issue. It’s incredibly difficult to prevent, especially when you consider how much time we spend in front of a computer screen or driving in a car.
Now that you’re aware of the problem, you can take steps to correct the issue and improve your posture. Here are five simple tips to correct forward head posture and minimize neck pain.
1. Adjust Your Computer Monitor’s Height and Distance
If you spend extended periods of time in front of a computer, you need to ensure that your monitor is an appropriate distance from your face and at the appropriate height. The top third of your screen should be eye level. The screen itself should be between 18 and 24 inches away from your face.
If the monitor is too close, it will cause undue strain on your eyes, and also cause you to slouch forward. A monitor that is too high or too low will also cause you to strain your neck and eyes.
By keeping the screen at an appropriate height and distance, your neck can remain relaxed and in its natural position.
2. Lift Your Chest
When attempting to correct forward head posture, most people tuck their head back. However, this postural issue is often accompanied by a slouched back and rounded shoulders. Simply pushing your neck backward will not correct the issue.
Lifting your chest, however, will cause your neck to naturally retract. At the same time, it will also address your slouching back and rounded shoulders.
3. Perform Posture Corrective Exercises
One of the best ways to correct your posture is through exercises and stretches.
Chin retractions are a great way to correct forward posture, and they can be performed while sitting at your desk. Simply pull your chin back to stretch the back of your neck. Repeat 10 times every hour throughout an 8 hour work day to really see results.
If you can, practice chin retractions while standing up against a wall. Doing so can help restore pelvis and shoulder posture as well.
Supine Chin Tuck
This exercise is similar to chin retractions, but requires a different position.
- Begin by lying down on your back. Ensure that nothing is behind or under your head.
- Tuck in your chin by bringing your chin towards your chest. Do not lift the back of your head off of the floor. Hold this position for five minutes.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
4. Purchase an Ergonomic Chair
An ergonomic chair can help you correct your posture and strengthen your neck. An ergonomic chair should provide lumbar support and allow the natural curvature of your back to remain intact.
When the lower back is properly aligned, it will help prevent the neck from drifting forward. Ensure that whenever you sit in your chair, you always sit up straight.
Ideally, the chair should allow you to adjust the height of the chair, the seat angle, the back rest angle and the height of the arm rests.
Keep in mind that not all chairs are created equal. If you are shorter in height, for example, you may need to purchase a chair specially designed for those under 5’5.
5. Use a Supportive Neck Pillow
A supportive neck pillow can help prevent a sore neck and ensure that it remains in its proper position throughout the day. Supportive neck pillows follow the natural curvature of your head and neck.
Your head falls in the middle of the pillow, while your neck is thoroughly supported with a curved section at the bottom of the pillow.
It’s also important to ensure that you do not sleep with multiple pillows. By sleeping on multiple pillows, you push your neck forward and in an unnatural upright position.
It may take some time to get used to, but sleeping on just one pillow is ideal. We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important to ensure that your posture is also corrected while sleeping at night.