Did you know that your posture has an effect on your emotions? Did you know that your posture has a direct impact on your personality? In fact, posture can provide some important information about you. This article is a detailed guide on how to correct forward head posture quickly and easily.
When we speak, it’s not just about what we speak but also how we speak. Our facial expressions, gestures and most importantly our posture reinforce our speech. Posture, in a way, communicates our emotions, attitudes and intentions.
Posture plays a critical role in our lives because of its correlation with our mental and physical performance at work. What do we notice when we see a confident personality? The head is in proper alignment with shoulders and back. As a result, he/she would be perceived as sharp and positive. Similarly, what do we make of someone with hunched back? The person will always be seen as sad, timid and fearful. A poor posture will always give the impression of lack of confidence and unhealthy lifestyle.
With the rapid boost in technology sector, our lives have started revolving around technologies. With the increased use of mobile phones and laptops, the quality of our lives has undergone significant changes. Technology has certainly made our lives easier in many ways. Not to mention, the need to stand up and walk around has also been reduced. Spending long hours looking at the phone screen or in front of the computer has resulted in neck pain, back pain and consequently, a poor posture. In fact, our obsession with our smart phones has led to the development of Forward Head Posture (FHP).
Having said that, we cannot abandon technology. Can we? However, what we can do is make an effort to achieve the right posture. Before we skip to the section of how to achieve the right posture, let’s first understand why it is important to have a good posture.
Importance of a good posture
Apart from making a statement about your personality, a good posture maintains balance. It is basically about a well-aligned body with respect to the gravity, which constantly exerts a force on our muscles and joints. Poor posture has a huge impact on your mental and physical health. Posture is directly connected to the spine, which is connected to the brain and spinal chord. Therefore, a bad posture can affect the overall function of the body and mind. So if you have been suffering from back pain, neck pain, headache or dizziness, maybe it’s time to work on your posture. After all, a good posture can make a huge difference. Here’s how-
Bring out the best in you
A good posture balances the muscles and ligaments, thus evenly distributing the stress. Proper posture relieves the pressure and you’ll feel the change in walking, sitting or while doing any other physical activities. Bad posture results in straining the muscles and ligaments, which in turn would drain the energy. Just by changing the posture, you will feel more energized.
Conquer with confidence
Upright position is associated with positive and powerful trait. In fact, a straightened up posture displays authority and dominance. When you sit or stand straight with your shoulders back and outward, the brain perceives it as being confident. It generates positive memories and thoughts, which boosts your confidence and mood. So if you wish to get that first impression right, improve your posture.
Bad posture makes it difficult to breathe. Slouching or leaning squeezes the lungs, thus decreasing the amount of air reaching the lungs. This results in less oxygen, which impacts the energy level in our body. Maintaining a good posture will result in adequate intake of oxygen and keep us energized.
Sharpen your memory
Good posture removes all sorts of constrictions and causes the blood to flow freely. Also, The oxygen intake increases with the improvement in posture. Increase flow of blood and oxygen to the brain results in better memory retention, which also means you can absorb more and more knowledge.
Taller, slimmer and younger
Maintaining a good posture is the quickest way to look more vibrant. Bad posture causes the muscles and ligaments to compress. Improving the posture relieves the compression and body attains it natural flow.
Poor posture puts pressure on our nervous system. Spine affects our posture and vice versa. Hence, maintaining a good posture is crucial to have a healthy spine.
Posture is directly related to the spine. So, whatever the posture we practice, the spine is impacted directly, which in turn impacts the brain and functioning of other organs. Spine plays a critical role in everything that we do from standing, sitting to sleeping and lifting. Hence, it is essential to understand the design of spine.
The spine has three natural curves.
- Thoracic curve– it is the longest area between the neck and the abs.
- Lumbar curve– it connects the abs to the lower body.
- Cervical curve– it constitutes the neck area. It is also refer to as “the arc of life”
Maintaining a bad posture for a long time can lead to losing the natural curves of their spine. In this article, we will discuss the impact of bad posture on the cervical curve or “the arc of life”.
Forward Head Posture
The most commonly practiced poor posture is slouching or forward head posture. Subluxation, in simple terms, is partial dislocation or misalignment of the spinal joints and forward head posture is a dangerous form of subluxation. When standing erect, weight of the human head is evenly distributed along the three curves. Spending long hours looking at mobile phones, sitting in front of computer or television creates imbalance. This leads to the gradual loss of natural curve as the head shifts forward. In ideal posture, head rests directly on neck and shoulder but bad posture causes the degeneration of cervical curve. Thus, in Forward Head Posture, the head is pulled outwards. This posture increases the weight of the head, which messes the entire alignment of the spine. This poor posture causes exaggerated extension of the cervical curve by adding up to 30 pounds of abnormal weight on the arc of life. It causes prolonged muscle strain and irritation of cervical nerves. As of result, the free flow of the blood is obstructed causing pain.
Effects of Forward Head Posture syndrome
Decreased lung capacity
Breathing determines the amount of oxygen we take in our body. In Forward Head Posture, the shifting of head interferes with the muscles involved in breathing. The muscles need more energy to hold the extra load of the head. Therefore, the breathing becomes shallow because the muscles are unable to facilitate breathing. In addition to that, the curve of the cervical spine is accentuated because of the posture, thus compressing the cavity of the chest. Consequently, our breathing ability is compromised. Lowered oxygen in the body will obstruct the flow of blood, which will cause pain and stiffness in the neck area.
The cervical spine is connected to the brain stem, which is in charge of controlling and coordinating all vital functions. In Forward Head Posture, the head is pulled forward, which makes the upper back muscles overstretched. This results in the misalignment of the cervical spine, causing pressure, tension, irritation, headache and dizziness. This is due to the disruption of the blood flow caused by the posture.
Common signs and symptoms of Forward Head Posture
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Low back pain
- Frequent headaches at the base of the skull
- Severe migraine causing visual disturbance
- Muscle ache especially between the shoulder blades
- The posture flattens the curve, which compresses the disc resulting in arthritis.
- Unhealthy spine
- Hinders the freedom of motion
- Jaw joint pain
- Loss of height
Test if your head is protruding
Most of the times, we don’t realize that our head is not in alignment with our spine and shoulder. There is an easy way to figure out if we have that poor posture. One needs to stand against a wall. Shoulder blades, lower back and bottom should be flat against the wall. Ideally, the back of the head should naturally touch the wall, without looking up or over arching the back. If not, then you will notice your head leaning forward.
Fixing Forward Head Posture
Now that we know that the head is protruding and are also aware of the affect it has on our body, let’s proceed towards its correction. Practicing the right posture in our day-to-day activities along with a few stretching and strengthening the muscles will fix the postural problem.
Due to forward leaning of the head, the upper cervical muscles get overstretched. As a result, the breathing is affected, which in turn tightens the muscles. This causes heaviness at the back of the head. The solution is to loosen the muscles in order to correct the posture.
Massage ball release
It is also called as suboccipital release. Suboccipital region is the triangular region beneath the base of the skull, which includes the first two vertebrae of the upper cervical spine. A small massage ball or a foam roller is placed at the base of the skull, under the neck. Rotate your head slowly from one side to another. Continue rolling for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side of the neck. However, one needs to be careful with the amount of pressure applied in case you feel dizzy.
A group of muscles located on the front of the neck facilitates the nodding and turning of head. Deep neck flexor exercises will strengthen the muscles. Sit upright in a chair or on a mat. Place the hands at the back of your neck. Apply a gentle force with your hands towards your thighs while slowly bringing your chin close to the chest. You will feel a stretch at the back of your neck. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat it 3 times.
Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) release
This stretch aims to relax the largest muscle of the neck, known as the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. When you turn your head to the right, you will find your left SCM, a prominent band of muscle, running from behind the ear to the throat connecting the collarbone. Similarly, you will the right SCM by turning you head to the left. Gently massage the muscles by pinching it. Continue the massage for 1 minute on each side of the neck.
While sitting or standing upright, gently tuck in your chin towards the chest. A common mistake that people make is bring their head down like they would while nodding. One has to horizontally move the head backwards. Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds and should be repeated 30 times.
Chin tuck (against gravity)
One needs to lay with the face down on a mat or a bed. The placement of head should be such that it rests at the tip of the nose. Slowly lift your head off the floor while keeping it parallel with the front of the mat or the bed. Now tuck in your chin towards the chest and hold it for 5 seconds. This should be repeated 30 times.
Chin tuck (with resistance band)
Put a resistance band at the back of your head and pull the two ends of the band forward. Gently tuck in your chin towards the chest and hold for 5 seconds. This should be repeated 30 times.
In order to strengthen the deep neck flexors located in the front of the neck, one has to lie down straight with the back on the bed or mat. Gently tuck in the chin towards the chest, while lifting your head off the bed or mat. Hold this position for 3 seconds before gently lowering your head back to the initial position. This should be repeated 10 to 15 times twice a day.
Brugger relief position
Named after Swiss neurologist Alios Brugger, this exercise is effective in reducing back and neck strain, reinforcing good posture by properly aligning the head. While sitting upright, position your feet and knees slightly apart to the sides and facing outwards. Perform a chin tuck, raise your breastbone and relax your shoulders. Rotate your arms slightly outwards so that the thumbs are pointing backwards. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
More ways to fix the forward head posture
This is a detailed guide that can help you fix your forward head posture. There are several other resources available online. Forward Head Posture Fix is a very popular ebook that has been helping people get rid of their forward head syndrome. We have a review of the ebook. This could be of help to you
Other than performing the aforementioned exercises, one also needs to change a few things in everyday life in order to speed up the final result
- Avoid using thick pillows while sleeping
- The top third of the computer screen should be at your eye level and the screen should be two feet away from your face
- The right way to carry a backpack is to wear both the shoulder straps to balance the weight distribution
- Always maintain the right posture while sitting, standing, walking or lying
It’s a matter of few days. Initially, it will feel different to deviate from the long period of poor posture, but gradually it will be much more comfortable. With the change in posture, you will witness the drastic change in the overall personality, emotions and quality of life.