Forward head is that position where your ears are in front of your shoulders while your eyes are level.
Anatomically, forward head is usually the result of prolonged flexion of the lower cervical vertebrae and extension of the upper cervical vertebrae. This can usually be found in people who sit in front of the computer all day especially if they don't have good support for proper body alignment.
There are four things that usually occur simultaneously which need to be addressed:
Tight upper back/neck
Weak neck flexors
Weak middle back
The first thing that needs to be addressed are the tight muscle structures. Once these are released it makes it easier to strengthen the opposing muscle groups because the weak muscles don't have to work against the tight muscles.
- Chest - These cause the shoulders to round forward pulling the shoulder blades out of alignment with the head. Here is the stretch:
- Upper trapezius - tight upper trapezius muscles are a result of rounded shoulders and need to be released to move properly and reduce pain. Here is the release:
- Neck flexors - weak neck flexors happen when the neck is in the forward head position for long periods of time. Strengthening them will pull back the head and ease neck pain and related headaches. Here is the exercise:
- Middle back - weak middle back muscles allow the shoulder blades to glide forward putting stress on the neck. Keeping the middle back strong will pull the shoulder blades back into better alignment. Here is the exercise:
These four movements will release and strengthen muscles and improve posture to help alleviate the associated pain with rounded shoulders and forward head.