Forward Head Posture
Forward Head Posture
What is forward head posture?
Forward head posture is the loss of the neutral and our natural neck curve. This can lead to increased tension, muscle tightness and joint stiffness which affects our musculoskeletal and nervous system. It’s vital that your neck position allows your head to sit directly overhead your shoulders. Unfortunately, due to the excessive use of phones, computers and tablets and the effects of gravity, poor posture, poor office ergonomics, injury and trauma results in misplacement of the neck vertebrae. All of these result in a forward head posture. Forward head posture affects the majority of people and can have serious long-term health implications. At Physiotherapy Professionals Parramatta, we see a variety of patients with neck issues.
Common causes of forward head posture
Certain types of activities can place you at increased risk of developing this condition, including:
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Working in an office, behind a desk or on a computer/laptop
- Poor ergonomics
- Injury or accidents
- Improper lifting technique over a long period of time
- Generally poor or hunched posture
Signs that you may have forward head posture include:
- Ears are not inline with shoulders
- Neck pain and headaches
- Tightness or tension in the back of the neck or upper back
- Awareness of your posture particularly if you know you look down at phone/tablet devices and laptops
- An obvious forward head carriage
Problems associated with forward head posture
There are many health problems associated with forward head posture. Some more common problems can include the following:
- Abnormal loading on the cervical spine due to forward head position
- Reduction in lung capacity
- Increase discomfort and pain
- Reduction in freedom of movement and joint range of motion
Multiple authors and numerous scientific reports identify forward head posture as a significant factor in what they term ‘musculoskeletal pain syndrome’. Persistent forward head posture puts compressive loads on the upper vertebrae and this can develop into ‘hump’ posture.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at forward head posture in the work place. The results indicated that forward head posture was the most common spinal ‘defect’ found across a variety of professions. Over time, this leads to serious compression of the cervical nerve roots. The study concluded that professional education programs on correct posture, office ergonomics and corrective exercises may prevent this issues.
How can I correct forward head posture?
Physiotherapy commonly helps a variety of postural problems, including forward head posture. Physiotherapy works to free up restricted joints, increase range of motion, reduce pain, remove nerve interference and reduce muscle tightness and tension. Your Physiotherapist may recommend a series of treatment sessions and specific neck exercises to correct this condition.