Forward head posture is a position in which the head is sticking out forward in relation to the shoulder joint. This kind of posture is caused by bad habits such as sitting in front of a computer for most of the day or looking down at your cell phone. With forward head posture, the muscles in your neck and back are forced to work harder to keep your head upright. If you have this problem, you shouldn’t feel desperate. Some simple tips and exercises can help you correct your posture and keep your neck supported.
Do You Have a Forward Neck Posture?
To find out whether or not you have this problem, you will need to stand up, and place your back towards a wall. Your bottom, lower back, and shoulders should be completely flat against the wall. Your head should come naturally in contact with the wall, if not, you have a problem with forward neck posture.
If left unaddressed, it will eventually cause tension, stiffness, and pain in your neck, shoulders, and back. If you delay treating this issue, your symptoms will worsen. Forward neck posture is a progressive issue, meaning your head will continue tilting and poking forward, resulting in getting a hunch-like appearance. Not only you will have a problem with your unappealing appearance, but you will also suffer from chronic muscular tightens. It can also lead to premature joint arthritis and compression neuropathy, and unfortunately, these conditions are irreversible if they get into advanced stages.
Exercises for Your Neck
It is crucial to exercise to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture. To make your neck straight once again, you should exercise and activate your neck and back muscles. The following exercises should be practiced at least two to three times a day.
Start with a head tilt. The only thing you need to do to complete this exercise is to lean your head forward and rest your chin on your chest. Stay in this position for five to ten seconds and return to a neutral position. Next, you should do a head turn. Stretch your head to the right and hold it for five to ten seconds and then pull your head to the left and keep it that position for the same time. To stretch your neck, you should push your chin forward until you tighten the muscles of your neck. Stay in this position for five to ten seconds and then pull your chin back. When doing a side head tilt, you should lean your head to your right shoulder until you feel a stretch and then do the same on the left side. These exercises, although they seem basic, are beneficial for your neck muscles. Combine these exercises with some quality upper back workout to reach a full effect.
Sleep on a Firm Pillow
If you have bad neck posture, you shouldn’t sleep on a soft pillow. Instead, you should use a firm pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. You shouldn’t sleep on a pillow that is too low, but you also shouldn’t use two or more pillows that are too high or too stiff. Sleeping in a position that doesn’t follow the natural curve of your neck will cause pain and stiffness in the morning, but also unnecessary neck strain, that can make your posture problem worse.
Working in an Ergonomic Workstation
If you have an office job or you spend a lot of time reading or sitting in front of your computer, you should create a more comfortable working environment. Only by using ergonomic office furniture, you can maintain and eventually adopt a neutral back and neck posture. If you currently don’t have the budget to buy an ergonomic chair, adjust your office chair’s height so that when your feet on the floor and your elbows are resting on your work surface, they should be at a 90-degree angle. The screen of your computer should be arm’s length away from the rest of your body. Many people tend to pull their computer closer and not only cause unnecessary strain on their neck and shoulders, but also on their eyes. Ideally, your gaze should be level with the top of the screen.
Stop Carrying a Heavy Backpack
If you tend to carry heavy rucksacks, simply stop. Oversized and backpacks of great weight can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain and worsen your posture. If you have to carry a heavy rucksack, buy one that is proportionate to your body size. Also, organize your bag properly by positioning heavy stuff to the center of your back. Never frequently carry your bag over one shoulder.
Our body is not meant for leading a sedentary style of life. When we place our bodies in an unnatural position for prolonged periods of time, all they can do is adapt. So, when we spend hours sitting, certain muscles that are responsible for maintaining a good posture start weakening and tightening. Have in mind that if you don’t treat your conditions, your shoulders will also start hunching forward with it to compensate the weakness in your neck muscles.