Neck Problems: Forward Head Posture

From using a laptop in bed to hovering over phones throughout the day, we missue our neck by either tilting it in an awkward position or hanging it for a long time. As a result, the neck bears a number of problems out of which Forward Head Posture (FHP) is the biggest one. The neck is set in a poking-out posture where you can observe excessive extension in the upper thoracic regions and lower cervical vertebrae, and in the upper cervical vertebrae.

This condition is known as Forward Head Posture (FHP). An ideal straight posture supports aligned body parts and joints, which require minimum stress, while the tiniest energy is required to stand up. This condition may accompany other posture deficiencies, including the extension of shoulders, leveling of the lower cervical spine, and turning of the upper back. These uncomfortable statures may develop a headache, shoulder pain, neck ache, muscle tenderness and stiffness, and craniofacial pain.

The ill-impacts of such bad neck posture may evolve into much severe muscle stiffness, over the course of time and with age. The extra work that the cervical spine has to put in supporting the head compels many of the attached muscles to work harder in support. If it continues over a long span of time, your muscles will lose their balance and may find it struggling to support the head for straight-ahead vision. As a result, some of the muscles may become tight and short, while others are weak and elongated.
Forward Head Posture can protrude in response to a number of reasons, as follows:

  • Sleeping with a high-held head
  • Using the phone with head hanging down, for a long course of time
  • Unsupportive ergonomic alignment, slouching; due to gravitational effect
  • An occupational routine that requires backward or forward leaning of the head for a number of hours every day, wrong sitting position during computer use
  • Result of lumbar spine and pelvic posture
  • Underdeveloped or weak back muscles, providing less support
  • Texting posture out of habit

Weak and Long Muscles

Forward Head Posture may result in weak and elongated muscles. The following are targeted in order to relieve neck pain and correcting the forward head posture. Your doctor may prescribe therapies or medicine that will empower. Depending on your needs, Usually other related muscles may also require special attention.

Erector Spinae

These extensor are attached to the upper thoracic and lower cervical spine. These have a vital job to straighten and rotate the spine. If these lose their strength, they may become unsupportive in keeping the back and neck from hunching.

Deep Cervical Flexors

Namely the longus colli and longus capitus, these muscles are lined with the cervical spine and keep the neck in a steady position. In case become weak, you may develop a condition called Chin Poking, as the cervical flexors may lengthen due to chin losing their original position. 

Shoulder Blade Retractors

The upper back has rhomboid and trapezius muscles that support the chest and back to stay in good posture. In case these become weak, they cannot help but bring the posture in forward position and hunch the shoulders.

Tight and Short Muscles

These either tighten or shorten due to forward head posture. When targeting FHP, these muscles are stretched for improvement. Shortness or length of muscle may vary depending on the imbalance and certain other factors as well.

Levator Scapulae Muscles

These are located along the side and back of the neck; they stretch all the way from the upper cervical spine towards the scapula. These muscles are responsible for lifting the scapula and support in making many of the neck movements. These also may decrease in length if the shoulder blade starts tilting forward, or rotate in an upward direction due to rounded shoulders.

Chest Muscles

Thus, with roundness of shoulders, the upper back muscles become long, and chest muscles become tight as they shorten. One of these muscles is the pectoralis minor chest muscles that are two thin triangle shaped muscles.

Suboccipital Muscles

These are 4 in number and connect the top of the cervical spine with the lower back side of the skull.  Their job is to support head extension and rotation. Their job is to constantly contract in order to support the head in holding up and to look ahead in the straight posture.

Impact of Forward Head Posture

As an examples, there are a number of consequences that your body has to face as a result of bad neck posture;

  • Decrease in the height while increase in the dorsal kyphosis
  • Reduced range of cervical spine along with motion
  • Feeling of chronic pain, fatigue and muscle ischaemia
  • Formation of osteophyte and early disc generation
  • Join inflammation and temporomandibular joint pain
  • Tension Headache
  • Limited range of arm and shoulder motion, may experience decreased vital capacity
  • Nerve compression and probable projection of nucleus pulposus

Muscle Pain and Forward Head Posture Symptoms

Although palpable symptoms may take time to appear, the early stage symptoms of FHP can include the following:

Muscle Soreness

You may experience an achy or dull pain in the nape of the neck that may spread across sides and back of the shoulder, upper back, or even head.

Severe Pain

In the beginning stage, the neck muscles either feel the tightness or go into spasm; this will result in the sensation of burning or sharp pain. usually, you may feel intense neck pain that may become worse with certain positions, lying on sides, or tilting your neck with a certain movement. The origin of the pain is centralized; it could be the base of the skull, neck sides, or beneath the shoulders.

Muscle Tightness

Your muscles may experience tightness or exhausted Regulary of overworking, being wrongly positioned for a long time, and trigger point pain in response to inflammation like a herniated disc or because of an injury. Gradually, due to less muscle mobility and pain, your neck movement may become limited and eventually stiff.

Trigger Point Pain

Usually, these points are commonly found along the base of the neck, likewise you may experience pain down the shoulders or in the neck. This kind of neck pain may become intense upon touching. It can be the result of stretched or tender muscles. According to some researches, trigger point pain is more likely to occur in people who have frequent headaches or migraines.  

In the mean time, neck problem if not treated, afterward permanent muscle pain that may stretch across nerve roots, joints, or discs. Futhermore put additional stress facet joints, vertebrae, and may speed up spinal degeneration.

You want to start working on your neck? Read this program!!!

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