By: Dr. St Jean
Forward head posture is caused by office work, looking down at a smartphone for a long time, or a heavy bag. In this video, we are going to talk about 5 exercises you can do to correct forward head posture in the comfort of your own home.
What is forward head posture?
Forward head posture is when the head translates forward in relation to the shoulder joint. It is a very common modern day postural issue. What makes matters worse is for every single inch that your head translates forward, it adds an additional 10 pounds of weight or force onto the neck. That is definitely not a good thing and is something you really want to avoid.
Muscles involved in forward head posture
Certain muscles are being recruited too much and they become tight. Other muscles are inhibited and they are on vacation somewhere that they are not doing their job at all. So the tight muscles are ones like your pecs (pectoralis major and minor), suboccipitals, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and SCM. The muscles that are weak or inhibited are ones like your rhomboids, deep cervical flexors and then your mid to lower trapezius to name a few.
Cause of forward head posture
There are many different ways for you to get to forward head posture. A few common ones that come to mind when I think about the patients I see every day would be things like anytime your head is facing down for prolonged periods.
The corporate job where you are sitting at your desk. You start your day upright and as the day goes on what happens? We get tired, we start fatiguing and we come forward like that. All common examples. Another one that a lot of people do not think about happens in their car. We should be upright in our car just like we should be upright at our desk but what a lot of people do. They sling their seat back and lean their seat back so their kind of sitting and if they want to see the road, their head has to come forward and that is another big time cause or perpetrator of forward head posture. Got to sit up right in the car. Another one that comes to mind is heavy bags, heavy purses. Those are often overlooked. So there you go some causes of forward head posture.
Treat forward head posture
There are 5 specific exercises that you can do in your office or home and really anywhere that can actually start to reverse forward head posture.
It is a very minute exercise but really potent. To do this, pretend that your neck or your chin is resting on a table. Take two fingers of your other hand and put it against your chin. Then push your neck or chin backcwhile pretending to do it on a table the whole time. The reason why you are pretending that it is a table is so you do not flex or extend your neck while doing it. Do 2 sets of it, 15 repetitions. It is going to activate those deep neck flexors. The ones that are weak in forward head posture and really help you out.
It is the same volume as chin tucks. Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions. The first thing you are going to do is stand up against the wall with your arms at a 90-degree angle and level with your shoulders while trying to maintain contact against the wall and your shoulder blades. The next thing you are going to do is raise your arms above your head, try to keep your elbows and wrist as close to the wall as possible. Finally, lower your arms as far down as you can until you feel that pinch and then you are going to bring them back up the starting position.
Chin Tucks on the Wall
Stand up first against the wall. Draw shoulders back against the wall. Make sure the head is fully against the wall by performing a chin tuck into the wall. If you have tight subocccipitals which you probably will if you have forward head posture. Make sure to correct looking more upwards with your eyes and extending your head in this position. You want to make sure that your cervical spine is neutral by again chin tucking into the wall.
The next thing you are going to do is, walk about one foot off the wall. Make sure that when you do this, your ear is falling right over your shoulder. Your ear and your shoulder should be in line with each other. If it is not, make sure to draw your chin in again like in a chin tuck. Bring the ear back in line with the shoulder. Then the last thing you are going to do once you have found this position is, hold it for two to three minutes. This is extremely potent and extremely effective when you gently lift yourself off the wall when you are done. You are going to feel your head come back more upright.
Put your hand and your forearm on the doorway while looking straight through the doorway. Slowly rotate your torso away from the doorframe, away from your hand and your forearm. You will feel a real nice stretch in your pecs. Once you get to the point where you feel it stretching, stay there and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds.
Seated Cable Row
Do 2 sets by 15 repetitions. Go on Amazon and get very similar quality bands that I have in the office. There are all different types of colors and each color represents a different tensile sterngth or resistance. Go and get this on Amazon for like 20 bucks. You should all have this at home as it is really effective. Not only for this exercise but for a whole host of exercises.
What you want to do is you want to be holding on to the end of the band with your arms fully extended. We want to relax the trapezius. Chest out with arms fully extended out. Hold on to the cables and slowly draw the arms back so the elbows glide right across the torso while squeezing the scapula together in the back.
So there you have it, 5 exercises to reverse forward head posture. I hope you found this useful and helpful. If you want more great information about treating pain in your body naturally, check out more of my videos and blogs to learn more. I’ve posted a ton of videos, articles and there is all kinds of great information here for you. If you would like to improve your posture and get rid of your neck pain once and for all, schedule an appointment now!