Does your head hang forward? Do you feel like your head isn’t sitting on your shoulders as straight as it should be?
The most common dysfunction with head posture is forward head posture! This is the slouchy ape like posture of the head.
In today’s age with a lifestyle that involves less exercise and more sitting down, studies show that there is a big link between computers and smart phone use and forward head posture.
Most people aren’t usually aware that this is happening until they notice pain or are told after getting an Xray or being assessed by a professional. Often when we get to this point it’s already been happening for a long time and isn’t easy to fix.
This forward leaning posture is something that also starts to put pressure on your shoulders, lower back and pelvis. As your front muscles begin to shorten and get more pressure, they pull your shoulders and pelvis forward. This can lead to other painful biomechanical dysfunction, decreased range of motion of those joints and significant muscle weakness.
What this means is that some changes at the top, as small as they may seem, can have major implications on the way down. The brain is great at adapting, one if its major priorities is keeping your eyes level so that your line of site is never interrupted. If your head is hanging forward and down, then the brain will cause muscle pattern changes that tilt your pelvis upwards to keep your whole body from leaning forwards. This will help keep your eyes level whilst sacrificing your lower back.
So, what can be done to help?
If you stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself, you can take note of your posture. The changes that take place with your structure are as follows. Your chin, shoulders will be more forward. The muscle changes that occur are that the front neck muscles, pecs, front shoulder muscles become shorter, tighter and weaker.
In order to treat this, you’re basically encouraging the exact opposite. Your chin, and shoulders need to come backwards. The muscles associated with these desired changes need to be stronger, have greater endurance and thus need to be used more.
There are lots of really cool exercises and stretches that you can do to start encouraging the opposite position.
One thing you need to be mindful of, is if you have significant degeneration and/or a history or fracture, then it is recommended that you seek professional advice before starting any exercise program.
The catch with the exercises you can do, is that they have to be consistent. Think about how long you are on your phone for, or how long you are working on your computer. You can’t expect a couple of exercises performed occasionally will help hours and hours of poor head posture!
To undo the specific changes, the positive changes need to be regular and consistent.
If you want to get on top of this, I mean really try control this problem then here are my top three exercises you can use to start improving your head posture.
So here they are:
- Prone trunk lift – Lie on your stomach with your hands by your side. From this position, lift your shoulders of the floor as far as you can. Repeat this 3 sets or 8 reps. Do this exercise regularly in order to retrain that posture.
- Foam roller – You’ll need a long foam roller that reaches from the head to your sacrum. Lye on it with your spine, with your arms extended out at 90 degrees, and your knees bent. You want to maintain this position for about 10-15 minutes. Again, doing this regularly is important.
- Brueggers relief position – Whiles sitting at your work desk or on the couch there is a great little technique you can do that take less than a minute. Whilst remaining seated, sit up, put your elbow bye your side and slowly lightly squeeze your shoulder blades together whiles tucking your chin in. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times. This can be done every 30 minutes while you’re sitting down or just being sedentary in general.
If these made any difference to your hump or improved flexibility, pain in the area then there may be more we can do. Please contact us and our receptionist will organise a time for you ASAP to be fully assessed to see what else can be done.