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.
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. Use a Supportive Neck Pillow While Sleeping
4 Best Options for the Year 2019:
- Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow
- EPABO Contour Memory Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow
- MARNUR Neck Pillow
- Cervical Pillow Contour Pillow for Neck
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.
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow
EPABO Contour Memory Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow
The Ideal Sleeping Position for Forward Head Posture
Did you know that there is an ideal position for fixing your forward head posture during sleep? It’s not sleeping on your back. I bet you thought that this position is ideal, no it’s not. It causes you problems with breathing, shortens your lifespan as well as block the flow of oxygen to your brain.
According to Dr. Stephanie Estima, the ideal sleeping position is to lay on your stomach. This position will help you fix the forward head posture as well as opens the airway for better airflow.
When you sleep on stomach, you sleep with your head rotated to one side. This helps to stretch muscles in your neck and to alleviate the tension.
For more tips on improving your posture while you sleep, check out:
- Video – How to Improve Hunchback Posture While You Sleep
- How to Improve Posture While Sleeping (with Pictures) – wikiHow
- Video – Proper Sleep Posture for Overall Wellness
2. 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. According to Cornell University, you should make sure that you follow these rules to ensure proper posture while working with your computer:
- Make sure that you can reach the keyboard keys with wrists as flat as possible (not bent up or down) and straight (not bent left or right).
- Make sure that the elbow angle (the angle between the inner surface of the upper arm and the forearm) is at or greater than 90 degrees to avoid nerve compression at the elbow.
- Make sure that the upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use – avoid overreaching. Also make sure that the wrist is as straight as possible when the mouse is being used.
- Make sure that you sit back in the chair and have good back support. Also check that the feet can be placed flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Make sure the head and neck are as straight as possible .
- Make sure the posture feels relaxed.
For more specific information, check out 10 Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation and OSH Answers Fact Sheets: Positioning the Monitor.
3. Perform Posture Corrective Exercises
One of the best ways to correct your posture is through exercises and stretches.
Chin Retractions (video demonstration)
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 (video demonstration)
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
4 Best Options for the Year 2019:
- Steelcase 46216179 Office Chair
- Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair
- TOPSKY Mesh Computer Office Chair
- Sihoo Ergonomics Office 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.
According to the posture experts from BTOD, ergonomic chairs help with forward head posture:
“Ergonomic chairs may not be able to change your internal limitations, but they are specifically designed to correct the external factors. The adjustable seat depth and contour of the seat back support the lumbar spine, prevent slouching, and promote sitting in the proper position.
Some chairs also allow you to adjust the angle, or tilt, of the seatback. Using a properly adjusted ergonomic chair will prevent slouching and forward head posture.”
5. Lift Your Chest & Work on Your Pecs
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. You will also have to work on developing your pecs (pectoral muscle) to be able to lift your chest properly.
According to the experts from FitnessMagazine.com pecs are really important:
“When it comes to posture, the back and shoulders get all the attention. However, as one of the largest muscles in the upper body, the pecs play an equally important role in maintaining posture and upright stability, namely by supporting the scapula (your shoulder blade) and the shoulder joint itself.
…if one muscle becomes overly shortened or lengthened, it won’t matter much if they’re strong or weak—the pecs won’t be able to sufficiently do their job. The biggest culprit of shortening? Your computer. When you slouch over it all day, you simultaneously shorten your chest muscle fibers and lengthen your back ones, says Seedman.”
To correct slouched back and rounded shoulders, check out these tips:
- Video – 2 Simple Exercises to Fix Your Slouching Posture & Forward Rounded Shoulders
- These 10 Exercises Will Un-Slouch Your Back to Correct Bad Posture
- Quit Your Slouching! How to Fix Bad Posture
The Vital Importance of Posture Correctors for Your Health
How closely connected is your health to the way you sit in a chair? It may surprise you to learn that your entire posture can cause your health and happiness to diminish greatly. Not only is standing erect great for your back, but your emotional state changes as well. Posture correctors allow a person to change internally as well as physically.
Let’s take a look at why correcting and maintaining a good one is vital to your health.
1. Happiness and Depression
If I told you that your posture could cause you to be happy or depressed, would you believe me? An astonishing study conducted in San Francisco showed that people that walk slouched over are more depressed. In fact, the study indicated that if you are already depressed, the depression will become even more prominent if you slouch.
Energy levels of participants also dropped as a result. This shows that posture has a direct effect on your happiness. Correcting this issue leads to emotional happiness and far more energy as a result.
2. Reduces Back Pain
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a computer? With most jobs requiring you sit in chairs all day, an immense strain is being put on your back. The longer you sit slouched over, the more pressure you are putting on your back and eventually, you may find that pain sets in.
Maintaining good posture and using a corrector can lead to less overall pain and less potential future pains. Back pain is often a direct result of an action you take no matter whether you’re sitting slouched or lifting a heavy object off of the ground incorrectly.
If proper position is kept at all times, these mishaps or pains can be eradicated. If you want to remain back pain-free, good posture is of the utmost importance.
3. Deformity Realignment
Scoliosis and other back deformities can leave you with a crocked spine. While slight deformities may not cause issues, these deformities can lead to severe pain when you get older or cause you to become disabled in severe cases.
Corrective devices force the spine to go back into a neutral position. This may cause you to realign naturally in slight cases, but not in advanced cases. When kept in proper alignment, your back will not become more deformed.
There is also a possibility, depending on the severity of the issue, of actually causing the curvature of the spine to revert back into a neutral position.
4. Easier Digestion
Who would have thought that slouching can have an effect on your bowel movements? When you slouch over, your organs fold and cause disrupt your body’s digestive process. This not only leads to stomach discomfort, but can really back you up.
By correcting your stance, you eliminate these digestive disruptions. This results in a more normal bowel movement schedule and allows you to remove the bloating or constipation that you feel.
5. Easier Breathing
Much like your digestive system, your lungs are also constricted due to bad posture. This causes you to feel less energetic, results in shallow breaths and ultimately leads you to not have sufficient oxygen. This is such a problem that athletes and even singers train to maintain good posture at all times.
Slouching also results in the constriction of blood flow. When you are slouched, the blood has a much harder time reaching your muscles and other organs. This causes the heart to work feverishly to pump more blood so that your entire body is adequately supplied with blood.
Removing slouching from the equation results in the reverse effect. The lungs are able to bring in far more oxygen and the heart is able to pump blood with ease. This will result in your body having to work less to supply the oxygen and blood it needs to operate efficiently.
Easier breathing will enhance your life greatly and is also immediately seen once your posture is corrected.
This process is always a work in progress. By using a brace or corrector, you can enhance your health greatly. Over time, you will retrain your body so that a corrective device may not even be needed. Oftentimes, weeks are all that is needed to reverse the effects of bad posture on your body.
- Video – FIX Forward Head Posture! (Daily Corrective Routine)
- Video – Corrective Exercise for Forward Head Posture and Upper Crossed Syndrome
- Forward Head Posture Correction Guide with Over 9 Detailed Exercises
- 5 Negative Effects of Bad Posture on Your Body and Mind
- Top 7 Benefits of Inversion Tables on Your Body and Mind
- 8 Factors to Consider When Buying the Perfect Inversion Table