5 Exercises To Help Maintain Good Head Posture

By Wednesday April 8th 2015

If you sit all day at work, school or for travel, chances are you do not maintain proper head posture.

 

A majority of people have been told at some point in their life that they have bad posture. Maintaining good posture is a challenge for most of us, especially if you spend your days working at a desk. However, working toward good posture is important if you want to avoid pain and injury. Forward head posture can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, and even headaches.

 

Forward Head Posture

 

FORWARD HEAD POSTURE

Here are some of the main contributing factors of forward head posture:

  • ​Gravity
  • ​Sitting all day at work, or during commute (in the car, train, bus, etc.).
  • ​Sitting all day at school.
  • ​Traveling for work or leisure.

Prolonged sitting with hips flexed in combination with gravity’seffect on the upper body creates tightness in the hip flexors and tightness in the anterior chain musculature of the trunk (the front of the torso) and shoulders (pectorals, subscapularis muscles, specifically).

Then, when you go to stand up, the tightness in these muscles tilts your pelvis forward and rounds your shoulders/upper body forward so that your center of gravity is pulled anteriorly. The more forward your body tilts, the heavier your head becomes as it is pulled forward as well. Unfortunately, this position prevents the postural stabilizers from working (deep cervical flexors, lower abdominals, lats, scapular stabilizers, glutes). In order to maintain an upright position of your head to see everything in front of you, the neck extensors must overwork against gravity to pull the head back up the neck. Neck muscle tightness frequently leads to headaches, jaw tightness and pain, and radiating symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pain down the arms.

Below are some self-releases, stretches, and exercises to help combat the effects of forward head posture.

Self-Releases

Lacrosse ball release: Pecs

Pec Release

Lacrosse ball release: Lats

Lacrosse ball release for lats

 

Stretches:

Pectoral Stretch

Pectoral Stretch

Pectoral Stretch

 

Exercises:

Ball Over Head

Ball over head exercise

Ball over head exercise

Kneeling Wall Angels

Wall Angel Exercise

Wall Angel Exercise

 

 


About Summer Sanders

Summer Sanders received her bachelor's degree in General Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a focus in biological sciences, health sciences, and psychology. She completed her doctorate in physical therapy in 2013 at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Summer's interest in physical therapy stems from years of playing field hockey, soccer, basketball, golf, and competitive piano. Her compassionate approach during treatment in based on previous work and observation in skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care facilities, and orthopedic clinics. Summer was introduced to React Physical Therapy while completing her final clinical rotation at UIC.

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Maintain Good Posture