What is Forward Head Posture? And How to Fix It.
Whether it comes as the result of working from home all day, staring down at a smartphone, or slouching on the couch, forward head posture is affecting individuals of all ages. At Twin Boro Physical Therapy in NJ, we have seen firsthand how poor posture can affect our patient’s quality of life and lead to other aggravating neck and back problems.
Let’s take a look at some risks of forward head posture and how physical therapy can help you fix the issue before it becomes a chronic problem.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture, which also goes by a lot of unflattering names such as “tech neck,” “text neck,” “nerd neck,” is defined by hyperextension of the upper cervical vertebrae and forward translation of the cervical vertebrae.
Did You Know
For every inch your eight-pound head protrudes forward, it can increase the load on your neck and shoulders by ten pounds!
It can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Occupational factors, such as leaning the head forward for long durations while using the computer or repetitive movements.
- Remote school or work factors, such as slouching or sitting on the bed with a laptop.
- Sleeping with the head elevated too high on multiple pillows.
- Carrying a heavy backpack.
- Poor strength development in the upper back muscles.
- Past neck injuries.
- Participating in sports that favor one side of the body, such as golf, baseball, hockey, tennis, etc.
Risks of Poor Posture
Poor posture, such as forward head, may irritate ligaments, joints, and soft tissues that surround the neck. It can cause the muscles of the back of the neck to shorten and a painful compression of the cervical vertebrae.
Additional risks factors associated with forward head posture include:
- Neck and back pain
- Discomfort in the mid back
- Restricted breathing and chest pain
- Pain and numbing sensation in the arms and hands
- Trouble sleeping and insomnia
If left untreated, this irritation can lead to chronic back and neck conditions such as the development of osteoarthritis, disc herniation or degenerative disc disease.
What Can You Do to Help with Forward Head?
The goal for proper posture is a neutral, upright spine without being too far flexed forward or backward. To attain this neutral position, remember to practice the following posture pointers every day:
- Pull shoulders down and back and tuck in your chin.
- Engage core muscles by bringing your belly button in toward your spine as if you’re zipping up a pair of tight pants.
- When sitting in a chair, use lumbar support. A pillow placed at the low back will help to remind you to sit upright.
- Change positions every thirty or sixty minutes to avoid being in any fixed position for too long. If you find yourself forgetting to move, set a reminder alarm on your phone to check your posture several times a day.
- When sleeping, use one firm pillow that supports the natural curvature of your neck.
- Create a posture-friendly workstation with the proper ergonomic set up (Position the computer screen about 18-24 inches from your head, with the top of the monitor at eye level, elbow rest at 90-degree angle.
- Practice upright posture while looking into a mirror. The visual feedback helps to teach what good posture feels like. Later recreate the feeling to assume good posture.
- Have posture buddies who can provide feedback throughout the day of how well you are doing in maintaining a good posture.
If you suspect you have forward head posture that is causing other problems for you, we recommend seeing a physical therapist who can customize a program of stretches and exercise to help you improve range of motion and strength to support the spine.
Did You Know
The average adult spends more than three and a half hours looking down at their smartphones every day.
How Can Twin Boro Physical Therapy in NJ Treat Forward Head Posture?
When it comes to posture problems, physical therapy can be a very effective treatment option. At Twin Boro in NJ, a Doctor of Physical Therapy will conduct a thorough evaluation of your posture and provide hands-on treatment, posture correction exercises and education for your condition.
If you or a loved one are suffering from neck or back pain due to poor posture, please call us at 1-866-407-2144 to learn about your treatment options. With close to 30 convenient locations throughout New Jersey, our skilled physical therapists are ready to help you live pain-free again.