A forward head posture is usually experienced by people working in front of the computer for prolonged periods or people watching TV regularly. A forward head posture is usually developed when the head assumes a forward position to visualize the monitor better. This puts the neck to a strained position because a forward head posture actually triples the weight of the head for the neck to support or carry. As a result, a forward head position may lead to muscle aches or spasms, headaches and even neck tension. Aside from voluntary forward movement of the head, tight pectorals and sternocleidomastoid muscles may contribute to a forward head posture leading to a further aggravation of muscle tightness.
A forward head posture is usually managed by stretching exercises to relieve muscle tightness of the neck and chest area and make the head assume a normal, straight and neutral position again. To correct a forward head position, the following stretching exercises may help:
Do this by standing against a wall with your back straight against it. Your head should also rest on the wall and make sure that you are looking straight. Try to press the back of your head further against the wall like flexing it towards your back. With the wall behind it, you will be feeling more pressure pressing it. Hold the position for at least 20 seconds and release. This exercise will help you return the positioning of your neck as normal as possible and reduce the forward head posture.
The aim of this exercise is to strengthen and make the muscles on the base of the skull more flexible to create a stronger muscle group opposite the weak areas. This also allows to limit the forward head position as the opposite muscle group becomes stronger to support the head. Begin by lying flat on your back with the knees flexed and the feet flat on the floor. Keep your head straight so that the tip of your nose points upward towards the ceiling. Attempt to nod while the back of your head rests on the floor. Hold the position for 20 seconds and slowly release. You will feel a stretch on your neck, which helps the muscles become more flexible.
This exercise aims to stretch the sternocleidomastoid at the side of the neck to relieve muscle tightness or stiff neck. Do this by sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Your neck should be held tall and straight. Look straight and pull your shoulders down and back. Slowly turn your head to your right shoulder. Also, move your chin towards the ceiling to create a 45 degree angle between your head and shoulders. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch three times and after which, stretch your neck to the left as well for three times.
A forward head position may actually lead to long-term cervical and spinal problems because of the increase in the weight of the head and various muscle spasms along the cervical area. Preventing a forward head posture is then essential by positioning your monitor properly so you never look down or look up. Also, you must ensure to walk around your desk after some time to prevent prolonged sitting and neck strain.