Poor posture can lead to many issues including neck pain. Forward head posture refers to the structural forward positioning of the head on the neck. This position places the lower cervical region into flexion and the upper cervical region into extension, both of which increases the pressure on the neck. This added pressure and weight of the head on the neck increases stress on the muscles, ligaments, and joints in the neck. The weight of the head takes up 1/7 of the body weight; therefore, maintaining a still position with the head leaning forward exerts 3.6 times more force than is required to maintain the same position with straight standing posture. The picture below shows the relation between head position and head weight.
The exercises below are a few staple exercises that improve range of motion, improve posture, and decrease neck pain and discomfort. Perform these every hour during your work day if you work in a sitted or leaned over position.
- Chin tucks- Start by sitting or standing with your back straight. While staring straight forward, pull your head backwards using the muscles in the front of your neck. Keep your head level with the floor at all times. Avoid tilting your head either upward or downward while pulling backwards. Hold for a few seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Scapular retraction- Begin by sitting with your back straight and your arms at your side. Slowly pinch your shoulder blades together. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Corner stretch- Stand in a corner. Keeping your upper arms tucked into your side, bend your elbows and place your hands on either wall at shoulder height. Slowly lean forward into the wall, until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Thoracic extensions- Sit in a firm low back chair. Cross your hands and place on top of opposite shoulder. Lean back over the chair allowing shoulders to extend back as far a pain permits. Repeat up to 10 times moving further into the motion each time.
If you are looking for a relief to your daily work day, say no more. Contact Pittman Physical Therapy in Collierville, TN today!