Working at a desk can cause a myriad of problems related to your posture that can have lasting effects.
If you’re concerned about forward head posture, there are some steps you can take to correct it.
Read on to learn more about this unhealthy posture and what you can do to fix it once and for all.
What is Forward Head Posture?
The technical term for forward head posture is a postural deformity, and it affects a huge swath of the population. When your neck slants or tilts forward, it puts a strain on the vertebrae of your neck.
Most people coping with this issue sit down at a desk to perform work-related tasks, but it can also affect those who stand still or make repetitive motions with their heads. This unhealthy posture shifts your body’s center of gravity forward and puts a lot of pressure on your neck.
Every inch that your head protrudes forward increased the load on your neck and shoulders tremendously. This can result in pain, headaches, and a permanent “slouch” over time.
There are many causes of this type of posture, including spending too much time looking down at your smartphone or computer. Even those who drive for long periods of time can experience forward head posture.
If you carry a heavy bookbag or sleep with your head elevated, these are two other culprits. Those who have past neck injuries or weak neck muscles could also end up dealing with forward head posture.
But this posture doesn’t just apply to desk workers. In fact, people who play sports like baseball, tennis, or hockey can also end up with the same problem since these sports tend to favor one side of the body.
Effects and Symptoms
It’s important to know how to improve posture so you don’t end up with the myriad of symptoms that come with this neck-craning problem. When your head is imbalanced, it can cause harmful neural, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal effects.
Some of the most common problems include shoulder, neck, and upper back pain. When you round your shoulders, it adds extra weight to the lower back which can also result in a herniated disc. Tension headaches are another common side effect.
You might even experience issues that you don’t realize are related to forward head postures, such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, or trouble breathing. Numbness or a tingling feeling in your arms and hands could be another neck-related issue.
Long term effects may include a reduction in your shoulder mobility, bulging discs, and even osteoporosis. Too much strain and pressure on any part of your body will eventually result in painful conditions or problems that can be difficult to correct.
How to Fix Forward Head Posture
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to do get a forward head posture fix that works. Start by choosing a firm pillow that can support the natural curve of your neck. Pillows that are too high or too low can cause your head and neck to overextend, which may result in permanent damage.
Office workers should choose ergonomic furniture and equipment that supports a healthy posture. Keep your computer monitor at eye level using a stand, or choose a standing desk to help keep your body upright. Sit with your feet flat on the ground, and keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
If you use a smartphone, try not to crane your neck or sit with your head facing downward. This might require some practice, but over time it should be easier to look at your phone without craning your neck.
Pick out a backpack that is proportional in size with your body. Don’t use a large backpack loaded with books if you’re a small person, and never carry more than your body can handle at any given time. Place heavier items in the center of your backpack to reduce shoulder strain, and always carry it using both straps.
Some Simple Exercises
Once you recognize the problems associated with forward head posture, you can start to take corrective action. If possible, try some or all of these exercises two to three times a day, and do three to four sets of each:
- Touch your chin to your chest as you tilt your head forward, and hold it for five seconds. Release, and repeat three to four more times.
- Gently rotate your head to the left until you feel the muscles stretch, then hold it for five seconds. Repeat the same thing as you tile your head to the right.
- Push your head forward until you feel a slight stretch in the throat area, and hold this position for five seconds and then release.
- Tilt your head to one side as you try to touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold this tilt position for five seconds, release, then do the same thing tilting your head to the opposite side.
Research how to improve your posture at work so you can be more aware of how you’re sitting. You can learn more about how to improve your posture to help you discover some new techniques.
Say Goodbye to Neck Strain
While forward head posture is fairly common, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer from the side effects. Practice good posture and use ergonomic furniture at work to help you stay upright and your neck free from excess strain.
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