With a long period of bad posture, people tend to develop a forward head posture. This is a common condition where the head is positioned in front of the shoulders, causing a rounded upper back and a protruding chin.
Forward head posture can cause several health issues like headaches and neck pain being prior to them. The condition can be managed if you take the right steps at the right time. So, how to fix forward head posture?
Regular exercises and stretches can help to prevent this posture in no time. You can also wear posture-correcting braces while fixing your workplace ergonomics. Let’s know more about it!
What Is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture develops as a result of remaining in a poor posture for so long. This posture causes the head to position in front of the shoulders, which rounds our upper back.
According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 71.4% of participants had a forward head posture.
Another study found that 78% of young adults had a forward head posture. People who have a desk job suffer more from this than any ordinary person.
4 Reasons Behind Developing A Forward Head Posture
Forward head posture is often caused by prolonged sitting, poor posture, or excessive use of electronic devices. Here are a few major causes that are seen:
1. Poor posture
When you are sitting or standing with a slouched posture, rounded shoulders, or a forward head position can cause the muscles in the neck and upper back to become tight or weak, leading to a forward head posture.
2. Prolonged sitting
People who have a desk job tend to sit in one place for hours. This especially impacts their alignment. As they have to push their head forward to see the computer screen, this slowly results in developing an FHP.
Sitting for long periods of time, such as at a desk or in a car can cause the neck muscles to become fatigued and the head to drift forward.
3. Excessive device use
Young people who are too much into their devices like smartphones, tablets, or computers may develop posture due to keeping their heads in a forward position for extended periods of time.
4. Imbalanced muscle stability
If any individual’s neck muscle is weaker and tighter which hinders flexibility, it can lead to a forward head posture.
How To Diagnose If You Have Forward Head Posture?
You can perform a simple self-assessment to know if you have a forward head posture. Stand with your back against a wall. Now place your heels, hips, shoulders, and head against it.
If you are unable to touch the back of your head to the wall without lifting your chin, you may have a forward head posture.
However, you can go to a healthcare professional or physical therapist to go through an analysis to assess your posture and determine if you have a forward head posture.
Tools like plumb lines or digital imaging can determine whether you have it or not.
How To Fix Forward Head Posture?
Let’s say you have a forward head posture, but it is not the end of the world. You can take several steps to fix your posture. Here are a few:
1. Improve your posture
Whenever you notice that you have developed a forward head posture you need to be mindful of your alignment immediately. Your poor posture works as the main culprit for this condition.
So, practice sitting and standing up straight while ensuring the right spinal alignment.
2. Use ergonomic equipment
When you have a desk job, you need to make sure that your work environment supports a good posture.
So, learn more about ergonomic workspace, standing desk ergonomics, good sitting, and standing positions.
Moreover, invest in ergonomic equipment like a supportive chair, an adjustable desk, and a monitor stand to improve your posture while working.
3. Perform neck stretches
Stretching helps a lot to make your neck muscles flexible while improving your posture condition. You can try neck stretches like side bends, rotation, and flexion.
4. Strengthen upper back muscles
Alongside stretches, you can try exercises to improve your posture. Exercises like rows, pull-ups, and lat pulldowns can help strengthen these muscles.
You can also perform chin tucks, head nods to help your forward head posture.
5. Improve flexibility
Your neck muscles and chest muscles stiffness work behind causing this postural position.
You need to perform exercises and stretches that specifically target these areas. Also, try sports that improve your flexibility.
6. Reduce screen time
Increased screen time in young can lead to a forward head posture.
A study found that prolonged use of electronic devices was associated with an increased risk of developing forward head posture in young adults.
If you have already developed the posture, it’s high time to limit your screen time. You can set the timer while using your device. It will also keep your eyes protected.
7. Seek physical therapy
If the posture problem has already been for so long, seeking physical therapy can help address muscle imbalances to help with that.
The personalized treatment plan will make sure to keep you consistent in the posture-correcting journey.
8. Be mindful of your posture
You need to be mindful of your posture throughout the day and make adjustments as needed to maintain good posture.
Thus, over time, your muscles will get more active and your brain will send you alerts whenever you are in the wrong position.
5 Tips To Improve The Forward Head Posture For Desk Workers
When you have desk work, it’s unavoidable to sit in one position for hours. But there are several things that you can do when you have to work at your desk so you can avoid the forward head posture:
1. Adjust your workstation
The first thing here is to notice your workstation's ergonomics. Using a combination of sitting desk ergonomics and standing desk ergonomics can improve your posture fast.
Make sure your desk, chair, and computer monitor are all positioned properly. Your monitor should be at eye level and at a proper length away from you.
2. Sit with good posture
No matter what you are doing, you need to be mindful of your posture.
Sit up straight keeping your back in the right position while ensuring the proper spinal alignment. Your shoulders need to be relaxed and your feet flat on the floor.
3. Stretch your neck
While sitting in the chair for hours, you need to ensure enough movement not to stiffen your neck muscles.
To ensure muscle activity, stretch your neck muscles from time to time. Take part in side bends, rotations, and flexion even while you are sitting.
4. Strengthen your upper back muscles
You need to keep your upper back muscles strong and flexible not to cause a forward head posture. Exercises like rows, pull-ups, and lat pulldowns can help strengthen these muscles.
5. Take several breaks
If you have a desk job most of the time, remind yourself to take breaks in between. You can follow the Pomodoro technique to ensure the break time.
In the meantime, you can conduct stretches and light exercises that don’t require any gear.
Side Effects Of Forward Head Posture
Prolonged forward head posture without taking any prevention can cause severe issues. The issues include strain on the neck muscles, leading to pain and discomfort.
Besides, you may also face tension headaches, which are caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
When you are in this for a long time, it can cause stiffness and reduced mobility in the neck and upper back.
Which can contribute to your shoulder pain and discomfort. You may also face upper back pain, jaw pain, and breathing difficulties.
Although there are not any reports of serious diseases that this posture causes, you might still face some troublesome consequences if you leave this untreated.
In the worst case scenarios, you might face diseases like the development of degenerative disc disease over time.
6 Exercises To Improve Forward Head Posture
Now we will share some exercises that will help you to improve your posture if you ensure consistency. Here are a few effective ones:
1. Chin Tucks
- Keep your back straight and sit up
- Your shoulders will remain relaxed
- Slowly pull your chin straight back and try to create a "double chin"
- Hold for a few seconds, and release
- Repeat for several reps
2. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
- Keep your back straight and sit up
- Keep your arms at your sides
- Now squeeze your shoulder blades together like you are trying to hold a bottle between them
- Hold for a few seconds, then release.
3. Wall Angels
- Stand and press your back against a wall
- Your feet will remain six inches away
- Now raise your arms to shoulder height
- Slowly move your arms up and down
- Repeat until you feel you are going well
4. Seated Spinal Twist
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor
- Now twist your upper body to one side
- Your opposite hand will remain on the outside of your thigh
- Now use your other hand to hold the back of your chair
- Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides
5. Foam Roller Exercises
- First, lie on a foam roller
- The roller will run lengthwise down your spine
- Now slowly roll up and down
- You need to stop at any areas of tightness
6. Upper Trapezius Stretch
- Sit at your desk, and gently tilt your head to one side
- Now use your hand to gently pull your head further to the side
- When you feel a stretch in your neck, stop for 15-30 seconds
- Repeat on the other side
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can forward head posture be corrected?
Yes, you can correct your forward head posture if you take proper action. Pay attention to your posture throughout the day and avoid tasks that ruin your alignment.
Moreover, remain consistent in your posture-correcting exercises.
What muscles are weak in forward head posture?
The forward head posture makes your neck and back muscles weak. They stiffen over time and if you don’t take the right actions, you might even feel a lack of flexibility.
How long does it take to correct forward head posture?
With proper exercise and stretching, you can fix your forward head posture in six to 12 weeks. But you need to be very consistent to see progress initially.
Why is my head so forward?
You might have developed a forward head posture which is also known as nerd neck.
This means, your head is positioned in front of the shoulders which will stiffen your neck muscles over time.
How does forward head posture affect the brain?
A continuous forward head posture can impact your sympathetic nervous system response.
Thus, you might feel a mismatch in the brain signals while having trouble moving some organs properly. Moreover, it also causes numbness in certain body parts.
Got To The Ending
You can keep yourself out of all the problems if you know how to fix forward head posture. Don’t be envious of people who have the perfect posture, you can have it too.
Ensure proper dedication and consistency to see a visible difference in your posture within 2 weeks.