Ever find notice your head being drawn in towards a computer screen or cellular device? It may seem like there is a strong magnet between your head and the screen that seems too hard to overcome. Ideal head posture is when your head is lined up with the shoulders, rather than a foot in front of them. When the head is much farther forward, many changes start to occur. These changes include:
- Increased force required to hold the head up.
- Some muscles get shortened, especially the ones on the base of the skull.
- Disability related to neck pain increases with severe forward head postures.
With these changes, neck pain and headaches can result, among other things. Headaches are quite common and often cause by a variety of contributing factors. Although it can take a little effort and thought, correcting one’s poor posture can have a nice impact on headaches or neck pain. The cost/benefit analysis of correcting posture is amazing. There is almost nothing to loose.
There are plenty of specific exercises and stretches that can be done to help correct one’s posture. If you struggle with neck pain or headaches, many safe conservative treatment options exist. Nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze me how many time people can make a simple adjustment to their posture and their headache decreases.
Give it a try for a day, a week, a month. In about 30 days, one can often create a habit. If the simple fix with posture works, great! Too often, people attempt to mask pain or problems with the quick fix of a medications when occasionally the body is only trying to remind you to sit up and keep that head from dropping too far forward. Adjusting work stations is one great way to help reinforce good posture habits and break others that may be less than ideal. If posture corrections only gives minor relief, a comprehensive physical evaluation could help identify other contributing factors to your pain or limitations in function. Although one’s posture may seem like a small deal, it could lead to some big improvements.
Correcting Your Forward Head Posture
Khayatzadeh S, Kalmanson OA, Schuit D, et al. Cervical spine muscle-tendon unit length differences between neutral and forward head postures: biomechanical study using human cadaveric specimens. Phys Ther. 2017;97:756–766.