As a leading chiropractor in Ealing, we see hundreds of patients per year at our clinic – The Spine & Joint Centre. Many of our patients present with postural issues, with the most common being forward head posture (FHP) — also known as “Text Neck”, “Reading Neck”, or “iHunch”.
Fortunately, this issue can be easily corrected with a combination of physical therapy and behavioural changes. In this post, I’ll explain what forward head posture is and how chiropractic be used to rectify it.
Do you have forward head posture or another postural issue? Call the Spine Joint Centre, a leading chiropractor in Ealing, on 020 8900 9004 or email us via email@example.com.
Do You Have Forward Head Posture?
Discovering if you have forward head posture is simple.
- Stand with your back against a wall and heels about should-width apart
- Press your buttocks against the wall while ensuring your should blades also remain against the wall.
- Next, check your head position. Is the back of your head touching the wall? If it isn’t, you may have forward head posture and will need to take corrective action to remedy it.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture occurs when the thoracic spine becomes excessively concave. It causes the skull to lean forward over the first vertebrae in the neck. It is easily the most common postural deformity, with an estimated 66% to 90% of the population having the condition. It often occurs in people who spend a lot of time looking down at mobile phones, laptops, and books, hence the nicknames “Text Neck” and “Reading Neck”.
When a person has forward head posture:
- Muscles in the upper back and shoulders become tight from often having a hunched neck position
- The muscles and joints in the front of the neck become weak
- The person’s centre of gravity shifts because the head is leaning so far forward. This places a lot of strain on the neck and other parts of the musculoskeletal system.
- The muscles, tissues, and nerves in the neck shoulders undergo a high level of pressure. This can cause several issues including rounded shoulders, and herniated discs (more on that below).
- Eventually, a person with FHP can develop tension neck syndrome, which can cause severe headaches.
What Are The Symptoms of Forward Head Posture?
- Muscle tightness, particular in the shoulders and neck
- Rounded shoulders
- Neck pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble sleeping
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and arms
- Joint pain
If the condition is not addressed it can lead to loss of shoulder mobility, back pain, herniated discs, bulging discs, osteoporosis, and cervical spine arthritis.
What Are The Causes of Forward Head Posture?
There are many potential causes of forward head posture, including:
- Poor posture (too much time in a slumped position on the couch or in a chair)
- Sleeping with your head on tall pillows or sleeping on a surface with elevated headrests
- Frequent use of cellphones or computers
- Carrying very heavy backpacks
- Having a profession where you often perform the same movement, like hairdressers, writers, journalists, and computer programmers
- A history of having neck sprains and strains
- Previous neck injuries
- Prolonged driving
- Having weak neck muscles
- Playing sports where you often use one side of the body more than the other
Fixing Forward Head Posture
Visiting our chiropractor in Ealing is the best way to deal with forward head posture. They will explain what is happening with your body and share the chiropractic exercises necessary for correcting the issue. Here are some of the most effective exercises:
Chin Tuck Exercise
The chin tuck exercise will help you strengthen the deep cervical muscles which are located at the front of the neck.
- Begin by placing 2 fingers on the bottom of your chin
- Gently, tuck the chin in and move your head backwards. Use your fingers to keep your chin tucked in.
- Stay in this position for 5 seconds
- Relax your neck and return to normal position. Repeats 20 to 30 times.
Brugger’s Relief Position
People with forward head position tend to have weaker mid back muscles and shoulder blades that are routed forward. This exercise helps to rectify that issue by strengthening the low and mid trapezius muscles..
- Sit in a chair with your knees positioned slightly wider than your hips. Your feet should be slightly rotated outwards.
- Tuck your chin in and allow your chest to rise. Your spine should be close to neutral in position.
- Place your arms by your side
- Gently bring your arms back behind your body, so your thumbs are pointing backwards
- Hold this position for between 5 to 10 seconds. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Self Massage
This exercise is useful for releasing the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which becomes overactive in individuals with forward head posture.
- Locate your SCM by placing your fingers beneath your ears and running them half way down the sides of your throat. The muscles connects to the collarbone on both sides of the throat in a V pattern.
- Gently massage the muscle by pressing into it your fingers. Go up and down the entire length of the muscle.
- Continue massaging for at least 1 minute.
If you have trouble locating the SCM, turn your head in the opposite direction, which will make it protrude slightly. Your chiropractor will also be able to help you find it.
If you suffer pain or discomfort performing any of these exercises then stop and contact your doctor or chiropractor. Always check with an appropriately qualified medical professional such as a doctor or chiropractor before starting on any new form of exercise, especially if you suffer from a preexisting condition.
Are you experiencing forward head posture? Call the Spine Joint Centre, the leading chiropractor in Ealing, on 020 8900 9004 or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.