How To Fix Neck Pain with Forward Head Posture Brace and Exercises
Understand Forward Head Posture Syndrome & The Dangers it Poses
Forward head posture is a condition characterized by a protruding head ans is also known by other names including text neck and FHP. This posture is usually involuntarily, which is one reason why it is hard to deal with or reverse.
It is important to resolve this issue because it can be very damaging to your health. Forward head posture could lead to lasting damage and could worsen as time goes by, so this post should help you to understand methods to get rid of your text neck and live a healthier, happier life.
Common Forward Head Posture Symptoms
The first thing you should do is try to detect some of the symptoms that are usually associated with forward head posture.
There is no need to worry if you suspect you have this problem. This syndrome affects a lot of people in varying degrees, and it is not something to be ashamed of, though it is something that needs to be taken care of.
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The Dreadful Headache
One of the most common symptoms associated with the forward head posture is a headache. Posture specialists have found that the reason most people with this problem experience a headache deals with the levator scapulae muscles that link the neck to the shoulder blades.
The levator scapulae is strained beyond capacity when one is suffering from the forward head posture syndrome (also known as the upper crossed syndrome).
Over-straining these muscles places tension on the suboccipital nerves, which is what ultimately triggers a headache.
Terrible Neck Pain
It comes to no surprise that pushing your head forward would add strain to your neck muscles, just as it will for your levator scapulae muscles.
At this point, what occurs is your upper-torso muscles become tense, and the muscles on your neck are weakened due to exhaustion. The combination of these two causes tension to the neck muscles and leads to neck pain.
These are just some of the symptoms associated with forward head posture syndrome, but there are more that you need to be aware of, like the following:
- Rounded shoulder, which is the result of the body shoulder attempting to offset excess strain
- Back pain due to excess strain that starts at the neck and goes down
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction or bruxism, which is caused by forcing your jawbone to misalign
- Bruxism usually leads to teeth-clenching
- Fatigue, due to excess stress you are putting on your body
- Arthritis after years of strain and possible muscle, joint, or nerve damage
- Pinched nerves if they are strained long enough
- Neck and back motion might be decreased due to the excess strain put upon them
- Facial pain due to jawbone misalignment
- Height loss, especially if you let the syndrome worsen
- Numbness or tingling in the arms due to the tension
- Muscle spasms when the muscles get too weak to sustain the tension
- Sore chest muscles after walking or sitting
- Sleep apnea because your jawbone is misaligned
These symptoms cannot be ignored, making the forward head syndrome something you need to address as soon as possible.
This Syndrome Can Lead to Other Problems
According to experts, the reason this syndrome is so vexing to the overall structure of the body deals with the weight of the head.
It seems that you add 10 pounds to your head’s weight for every inch you move forward. One should keep in mind that these 10 pounds will start a chain reaction because the neck, shoulders, and other muscles can only hold on for so long.
This means if the forward head posture is not addressed, then the 10 additional pounds will force the head to move forward another inch, and it will continue.
You may have to deal with other problems if you allow this issue to worsen.
Bruxism is one of the symptoms associated with this syndrome, which can lead to other issues. Bruxism has been known to deform the face if it goes untreated for enough time. It also causes excessive tooth wear due to the teeth clenching and a misaligned bite. This could lead to cavities or even tooth loss.
Perhaps one of the most undesirable outcomes of this syndrome is the fact that your lung vitality is diminished.
A study performed by numerous doctors, and some of staff at UCLA, found that the vitality of the lungs was reduced by 30 percent if enough pressure was forced upon the cervical spine.
Lung vitality is referring to the amount of air that you can breathe in and out. The study showed that the added pressure needed to be around 30 pounds.
This means that the head only needs to be about 3 inches out of alignment. This problem could affect your health and life in several ways.
For one, it means that exercise and sports will be a lot harder because you will be unable to breathe in enough air. It should be noted that several organs in your body will function at less than optimal performance due to the lack of oxygen.
Studies have shown that the lack of oxygen could lead to problems related to the brain, such as poor concentration and loss of short-term memory.
Rectifying Rounded Shoulders In A Few Simple Steps
With an increase in the use of technology for social pleasure, accompanied by a rise in stationary jobs and office-based work, it is no wonder that back pain and neck pain are becoming so prevalent.
No so long ago it was only the older generation who complained of such issues, now medical practitioners complain they they are even treating young children for posture and technology-related problems!
Rounded shoulders ranks pretty high on the list of such related problems. Surprisingly though, a significant improvement can be seen by following a simple set of rules.
1. Follow A Specific Exercise Plan
Your medical practitioner will likely be able to either show you a set of exercises to follow daily, or refer you to a specialist such as an orthopedic team. The key point here is to strictly follow the exercise plan, making it as much a part of your routine as eating breakfast and brushing your teeth.
Some of the exercises the practitioner may give you are as follows:
- Wall Angel Exercise
- Banded Stretching (also known as band pull-aparts)
- Chest Stretch
- Scapular Push-ups
2. Correcting Forward Head Posture Through Exercise
Since rounded shoulders are often a result of weak back muscles accompanied with tight chest muscles, a moderate back and core strengthening exercise session will also work to strengthen your back and all the muscles connected inside.
Strengthening your back makes good posture much easier, and good posture puts you well on the way to fixing rounded shoulders.
3. Changing Your Approach To Work And Pleasure
For many of us, our work involves sitting, often at a laptop or computer. Then when we come home to relax, we usually find ourselves back in front of a screen!
It may take a while to adjust to a new habit, but incorporating one, or more, of the following suggestions can see substantial long-term improvement for rounded shoulders:
- Use a stand-up work station for at least one hour per day
- Re-adjust your laptop layout (laptops are killers for posture)
- Use an external keyboard and mouse and place the laptop itself on a raised box
It may take a few days to get used to the new set-up, but endure the transition, it’s well worthwhile
Certainly rounded shoulders are becoming a common complaint within a wide age bracket. Significantly improving the problem will take time and effort, but you will undoubtedly be grateful you put in the work.
Decide on a daily exercise plan with your practitioner, work to strengthen your back and core muscles and try to adjust a few of your daily habits to improve overall posture. Then you’ll see that rectifying rounded shoulders really is possible in a few simple steps.
What Causes This Posture Issue?
There are many reasons why this problem might begin, such as an accident that affected the neck, but there are other less obvious reasons why someone might develop forward head posture syndrome.
In fact, a study that was published in the “Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation” showed a connection between this syndrome and those who use the computer.
The study was performed on people who work with computers. It revealed that 60.5 percent of those who experience neck pain have this forward head posture syndrome.
You should remember that using the computer is simply one activity, but there are several other activities that resemble this one.
For example, using a phone or a tablet could also have a similar effect.
You should be weary of any activity that may force your neck forward and take conscious steps to sit or stand as straight as possible.
The following are other activities that may force your head forward:
- Using your television, especially if it is close to you
- Playing video games on a television or other types of screens
- Wearing a backpack that is too heavy
- Gardening, especially when dealing with small plants
- Certain jobs like hair styling, massage therapists, painters, writers, or surgeons
- Driving without considering your driving posture
You might find this hard to believe, but there are some psychological triggers that can also lead someone to develop this particular issue. One possible trigger is bullying at school. Children seem to develop this issue when they are bullied. Usually it is a subconscious way to hide from their tormentors. The same goes for people who feel depressed, as it subconsciously helps them feel tucked away from the world.
It is of the utmost importance that you deal with any of these issues before they force you, or a loved one, to develop this syndrome. If you already have the syndrome, these activities can continue to make matters worse, so they are very important to address.
What Can Be Done to Fix the Forward Head Posture Syndrome After Years of it?
There are a few things that you can do to try to fix this problem, such as some exercises that have been proven effective.
Yoga, for example, has been proven to improve posture stability, and it really isn’t that difficult to get started with yoga as you may think.
One of the yoga exercises that seems to help is the Mountain Pose. This pose involves standing straight as possible and opening your chest while keeping your arms at your sides. Be sure to tuck in your tailbone as much as possible.
Of course, this is just one exercise that yoga has to offer to strengthen your back and improve your posture.
You also have the following:
- The standing forward bend pose
- The cobra pose
- The hero pose
- The child’s pose
- The locust pose
You can talk to a yoga instructor about other options that may be helpful for you.
Keep in mind that yoga offers one set of exercises that could be helpful to you, as there are several more that should be effective in correcting the syndrome.
Be sure to pay attention to exercises that concentrate on upper body strength, back strength, and core muscle strengthening.
You can also try to improve ergonomics in your home, car, and in your office. You can do this by simply buying chairs, sofas, or sitting accessories that help you sit straight.
These accessories and sitting furniture could be purchased in select office supplies stores, or you can simply by them online.
It is clear to see how important it is to understand forward head posture syndrome and how dangerous it can be to you or a loved one, so be sure to deal with it as soon as you can.