Forward Head Posture Symptoms
Forward head posture is a very common postural fault. Unfortunately, it has an unfortunate habit of appearing slowly over time which often means that it is well developed before you notice.
The symptoms include:
Jaw pain and stiffness
Various back pain
A large part of the issue is that the further forward (out of alignment) your head is, the heavier it is. To quote research by Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3, “For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.”
Given that the average adult head weighs around 12 pounds, an extra inch forward almost doubles the stress on the rest of your body! You don’t have to be a medical professional to see how the extra stress leads to pain and dysfunction.
Another serious problem quoted in the same research is that an overly forward head posture may result in the loss of lung capacity.
This occurs because the natural ability of the upper ribs to lift when you take a breath is impaired.
The Main Cause of Forward Head Posture Symptoms
The unfortunate reality is that in the majority of cases, we cause these symptoms ourselves. If you combine a mixture of poor posture and extended time spent sitting, it is almost inevitable the you will suffer some of the forward head posture symptoms listed above. When your head is in an exaggerated forward position, your centre of gravity changes and the rest of your body works to counter balance it. This leads to the following reactions:
- Your shoulders are pulled into a forward postion.
- Your neck and upper back muscles are over extended and stretched.
- Your upper chest muscles become compressed and eventually shortened.
- Your upper back rounds and pulls backwards (as a counter balance).
- Your lower back and pelvis tilt forward to compensate
Any solution to forward head posture symptoms will take time to work. This makes sense when you think how many years it took to cause the problem. Luckily, there are some practical steps that you can take to either avoid, or improve any symptoms that you may have.
1. Move your head into a “neutral”position
A neutral position is when your head is balanced and inline with the rest of your spine.
2. Improve your overall posture
Your head position is one aspect of your overall posture. It is important that you assess and correct all aspects of your posture. (Link to a post we wrote on general posture.)
3. Change the way you sit
It is very likely that your sitting habits are the major contributor to your forward head posture symptoms. ( Link to relevant post.)
4. Move more.
It is a fundamental fact that an active spine is an healthy spine. To both improve and avoid postural problems you need to do some form of mild, regular exercise. Two that many people find helpful when suffering from forward head posture symptoms are Pilates and Yoga.
5. Consider a product that trains your posture
Out of the very large number of products aimed to help your posture, one worth considering is the LUMO Lift. You can read about it here.
You can make a difference to any forward head posture symptoms you possess. It will probably take some shifts in your behaviours but is achievable. We would love to hear of your experiences and thoughts if you have time for a comment below.