Get Ahead of the Forward Head Posture
Take the time every day to focus on your physical self! It will make the aging process much better and it will help your mental self just as equal; something that is very needed this day and age.
Aging can be very difficult from a physical standpoint, you just cannot do the things you used to do as a kid! The body becomes weaker, stiffer, more prone to injury and also takes longer to heal; what a bummer!
Deconditioning and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a cumbersome posture of the head and neck called the forward head posture (FHP). This is so common and I often see it to varying degrees in my patients that suffer with neck pain, upper back pain and even lower back pain.
The forward head posture is described as the head going forward from the center of the shoulders, shown in this picture:
The Center of the ear should be directly above the shoulders as in this picture:
This is one of the most common abnormal postures that exists. Ninety percent of the population has some degree of forward head posture. When the head goes forward, the neck also know as the cervical spine is also drawn forward as well. Our head ways about 10 pounds, so this can impose drastic changes to our spine when not aligned properly. This leads to the loss of our normal curvature in the neck called a lordosis. This loss of normal curvature can eventually lead to neck pain, tightness in the shoulders, headaches, upper back pain and even lower back pain.
There are many factors that cause a forward head posture and no.. not because of having a huge head and brain! Actually having weakness of the muscles around the neck, shoulder blade and shoulder is the greatest factor. When they become weak it is very hard to hold the head up straight and keep the spine in optimal position. So to combat the forward head posture one must strengthen these muscles.
Another factor is limited mobility of the neck and upper back, however this often develops over time due to the above weakness!
As you spend time strengthening these muscles you will begin to feel taller and you will notice less tension in your neck. That sounds like a win to me! Now there are several exercise that can help, but I will give you my favorite two right here!
If you have any further questions or need additional help please contact our office!
Exercise 1: Towel Chin tucks against the wall: Stand with a wall behind you and place a small rolled up towel at the base/curve of your neck as shown. Then, retract your head against the towel while tucking your chin back and down towards your chest and hold. Relax and repeat.
Exercise 2: Resisted cervical Retraction: Stand in front of a wall with the band around the center of the back of your head. Hold the ends of the band straight (keeping tension) in front of your eyes with forearms against the wall keeping your elbows/shoulders bent to 90 degrees. Pull head away from wall keeping head level. This movement should occur through the muscles in the front of your neck (not back of head).