You can say you have a forward head posture when you involuntarily maintain a protruding head.
The biggest issue is that this posture is very difficult to control, as it occurs involuntarily. Nonetheless, you have to become aware of it and work towards correcting it, because it affects your health.
The more you leave it; the bigger the damage.
What Are The Most Frequent Symptoms Caused By Forward Head Posture
As this is a syndrome that affects a lot of people, you shouldn’t be ashamed of or scared by it.
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All you need to do is carefully observe yourself, the purpose being to detect these most frequent symptoms that are associated with forward head posture.
Once you suspect you might be suffering from it, you can take corrective actions.
Headache is the most frequent symptom of forward head posture.
This is also the reason why this condition is also known as the upper crossed syndrome.
Killer Neck Pain
Your levator scapulae muscles are not the only ones that are heavily strained by the forward head posture.
Neck muscles are also in difficulty. In time, they become weakened, as a result of the permanent strain they have to endure.
The result is a terrifying neck pain that doesn’t go away, no matter what you do.
These are the two main symptoms that should make you suspect you suffer from the forward head posture syndrome.
Nonetheless, there are many other signs that should trigger an alarm in your head and make you schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Here are a few of these signs:
- Rounded shoulders: your body attempts to counteract the excess strain by rounding your shoulders
- Back pain: the excess strain that begins in the neck may go down the spine, causing back pain
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ or bruxism: this condition appears as consequence of the misalignment of your jawbone
- Teeth clenching: this condition is usually triggered by bruxism
- Fatigue: the fact that your body is under permanent strain can get you exhausted for no obvious reason
- Arthritis: this can be induced by years of muscle strain
- Pinched nerves: straining a nerve on long-term may trigger its pinching
- Decreased neck and back motion range: excess strain may restrict your movement range and flexibility
- Facial pain: jawbone misalignment may trigger aches in your facial muscles
- Height decrease: in its severe stages, this syndrome may determine height loss
- Arm numbness and tingling: these symptoms are the direct result of long-term tension
- Muscle spasms: weakened muscles have a difficult time in supporting your body weight
- Soreness in your chest muscles after long periods of sitting or after long walks
- Sleep apnea: this is a direct consequence of jawbone misalignment
Luckily, most of these symptoms are annoying, so you won’t be able to ignore them for too long.
This would make you go see your doctor sooner rather than later.
Please include attribution to http://www.ergonomichealthhq.com/ with this graphic.
Consequences of a Forward Head Posture
According to scientists, your whole body structure has to deal with the weight of your head. They say that one inch of moving your head forward adds 10 pounds to its weight.
All your muscles are going to have to deal with these additional 10 pounds.
Your neck and your shoulders are going to try to cope with the load, but they are eventually going to give up, so your whole body is going to be affected.
The result of ignoring this condition is that your head is going to move forward even further, thus adding 10 more pounds with each inch.
This chain reaction is going to be more and more difficult to stop and almost impossible to reverse. In addition, by ignoring your condition, you may need to deal with a series of additional health issues.
Bruxism is one of them, and it is severe enough to be a menace to your overall health and well-being.
Ignored for a very long time, bruxism can actually deform your face. In addition, it triggers excessive tooth wear, as your bite is going to become misaligned.
Eventually, all these may trigger cavities and tooth loss. You may not realize it, but this syndrome may diminish your lung vitality. According to an UCLA study, a certain amount of pressure applied on the cervical spine can reduce the vitality of the lungs by 30%.
Lung vitality is a measure of the amount of air you are able to breathe in and out.
Since it determines the oxygen intake, you can see that the lower it is, the less oxygen your cells are going to receive.
This study has found that 30 pounds of added pressure are enough to cause this 30% loss in lung vitality. These 30 pounds translate into only 3 inches of head misalignment.
This tiny amount may have a negative impact on your health and on your entire life. For instance, you may find it more difficult to exercise, as your lungs aren’t going to be able to cope with the effort.
The lower oxygen intake may have repercussions on the performance of various organs in your body.
According to some studies, the performance of the brain and the concentration power are directly influenced by the amount of oxygen that enters the body through breathing.
Main Forward Head Posture Causes
This syndrome may be triggered by an accident in the neck area. Nonetheless, there are many other insidious causes of this posture issue.
According to a study published in the “Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation”, heavy computer users have an increased risk of developing this condition.
This study included only subjects who worked with computers, and it revealed that 60.5% of people experiencing neck pain suffer from the forward head posture syndrome.
Using a computer is only one example of activity, but it can be assimilated to may others such as using a smartphone or a tablet, sewing and writing.
Everything that forces you to lean your neck forward can trigger this syndrome.
This is why you have to be self-conscious and try to correct your posture, in order to sit or stand straight for as much as possible.
Some Activities That Contribute to FHP
- Watching television from short distance
- Playing computer games
- Wearing a very heavy backpack
- Gardening, especially when you need to care for small plants
- Various professions such as hair styling, writing, painting and massage therapy
- Driving for long periods of time without observing your posture
NOTE: These activities aren't necessarily bad, but you just need to be conscious of your posture and the length of time involved.
Can Psychology Cause Forward Head Posture or Rolled Shoulders?
As hard to believe as it may be, this syndrome can be triggered by a series of psychological factors (download).
Bullying at school is one of the best examples. Bullied children are more prone to developing this syndrome as a subconscious way to stay away from bullies.
Depression may also trigger this issue, as it makes depressed individuals feel protected.
By dealing with these issues early on, you can prevent this syndrome from developing. If it is already too late, you should be aware that you should address this problem before it becomes worse.
What Actions Should You Take To Correct The Forward Head Posture Syndrome?
There are several exercises that can help you deal with this issue in a very effective manner.
Yoga is excellent for improving your balance and posture stability, thus being one of the first corrective activities you should consider.
Try to learn the Mountain Pose, as it is very effective. It requires standing straight and opening your chest as much as you can. The correct pose involves keeping your tailbone tucked in.
This is only one yoga exercise that can help you correct your posture.
Nonetheless, there are many others that could prove to be very useful.
Here are a few of them:
Some Yoga Poses For Your Posture
- The standing forward bend pose
- The locust pose
- The cobra pose
- The child's pose
- The hero pose
You can check out this great guide from our sister website Tansamai, about How to Start Yoga at Home For Beginners.
You can find lot of other details on all these yoga exercises online.
However, the best way to make sure you learn the correct way of doing them is to talk to a yoga instructor. In addition, you should know that yoga exercises are only one way of dealing with your issue.
There are many other types of workouts that can help you. Everything that focuses on strengthening your upper body and your core muscles is good for you.
You should also try to make changes in your environment.
Pay attention to the ergonomics in your office, car and home. Your desk and your chair should help you maintain a straight position while sitting.
There are lots of stores that offer a wide range of couches, chairs and desks that help you maintain the correct posture while working or while watching TV.
Hopefully, you realize by now how important it is to understand the implications of the forward head posture syndrome.
This article should determine you to deal with it as soon as you notice the first signs and symptoms.