What forward head posture is doing to your health and how you can fix it
Forward Head posture
Many patients suffering with neck and back pain present with a 'forward head posture'. As it suggests, this scenario develops over quite a long time where, instead of the ears being positioned above the shoulders as the person is standing, their head has drifted forwards. This strains the muscles of the neck and shoulders but also adds tension down the muscular chains into the mid and low back leading to joint problems and chronic muscular discomfort. Because the body is limited in mobility with the chin brought forward and the rib cage being compressed and forced in to a hunched position, the diaphragm is less effective which reduces oxygenation and impairs functionality of the digestive system. This can lead to problems such as fatigue, headaches, poor concentration and immobility.
Forward head posture can be aggravated by the following:
· Sitting at desks – particularly when working on a computer or studying for long periods of time without a break
· Imbalanced training regimes – This is when a person focuses on building muscles on the front of the body and doesn’t balance it with work on the back muscles
· Low mood – we all slump when we're feeling flat or low
What can you do to change a forward head posture whether you are standing or sitting?
· Stick your chest out – This is achieved by bringing the breastbone with the fishing line pulling diagonally up towards the ceiling. Your shoulders will automatically roll back into a better position.
· Lengthen the back of your neck – Try to bring the back of the top of the head up towards the ceiling and lift the head so that you feel taller and longer at the back of the neck. Every 4 cm your head shifts, the neck muscles are loaded by 2 times so it's really important to think about alignment of the head.
· If you work at a desk with computers or a laptop - Position your screen so that the top of it is aligned with your eyebrows. If you're using a laptop, buy a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and put it onto books or a stand to enable you to have the screen as explained
· Try not to cross your legs too often or for extended periods of time – this causes misalignment of the hips which can result in problems elsewhere in the back
· Regularly stretch your arms out and clasp your hands together. Reach up towards the ceiling and in front of you if you have space. Gently release out your neck by taking the head from side to side and roll your shoulders forwards and back.
· Make sure that your upper body sits squarely on your hip and your pelvis is tucked beneath you to ensure that you don't over-arch your back.