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How to Correct Forward Head Posture

Three Methods:Head Posture TipsHead Posture ExercisesDiagnosing Incorrect Posture

Forward head posture can lead to chronic pain, numbness in the arms and hands, improper breathing and even pinched nerves. This is because every inch your neck goes forward there is an extra 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) of weight on your neck. Many people do not realize that they have poor neck posture, so you will want to test your posture to see if prolonged computer use, television viewing or incorrect sleeping positions have affected how you hold your head. After you determine that your posture should be corrected, you will need to strengthen your neck muscles with exercises. Add this short exercise regime to your daily routine and your tension and other symptoms will start to fade. Find out how to correct forward head posture.

Method 1
Head Posture Tips

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    Make sure your computer monitor is ergonomically set up. Raise your monitor so that the top third of your screen is at eye-level. Measure the distance from your monitor to your eyes to ensure it is 18 to 24 inches (45.7 to 61.0 cm) away from your face.
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    Never carry heavy bags, backpacks or purses. Avoid carrying bags on 1 arm or shoulder because they will lead to improper posture.
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    Get up and walk around every half an hour that you work at a desk, work in front of a computer or watch television. Studies have shown that frequent moving around decreases the pressure on your neck and back.
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    Buy a supportive neck pillow, if you often wake up with a sore neck. These pillows allow your head to fall into the middle of the pillow, while supporting your neck with a firm, curved section at the bottom of the pillow.

Method 2
Head Posture Exercises

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    Do chin retractions, otherwise known as nose nods. Lay on your back and bend your knees so that you are not hurting your lower back. Look up at the ceiling, ensuring your nose is perpendicular to the ceiling.
    • Nod your head slowly forward without moving your neck. Envision that you are drawing a small arc with the tip of your nose. Keep the movement very slow.
    • Slowly return your nose to its vertical position. Repeat 10 times. In a few days, increase your repetitions to 20 times. The next week, begin doing 2 to 3 sets of nose nods per day. Once you get used to the motion, you can do them standing up against a wall or standing straight away from the wall.
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    Do shoulder blade squeezes. Sit up straight in a chair. Your neck should be long and your legs should be at a 90 degree angle.
    • Drop your shoulders, if tension has caused them to creep closer to your ears. Let your arms hang to your sides.
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, as though you are trying to get them to touch. Hold this for 3 seconds. Slowly release to a relaxed position. Repeat this exercise 10 times, moving in a controlled manner. Increase to holding for 10 seconds and then to doing 2 to 3 sets per day as you get stronger.
    • The goal of this exercise is to improve muscle strength in your shoulders so that you can raise your chest. It is difficult to have good head posture if your head is not supported by your chest and shoulders. Look down at your shoulders frequently throughout the day. If they are forward from your chest, do a few shoulder squeezes to set them in the right place.
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    Improve your range of motion with advanced chin retractions. Sit in a chair or stand up straight. Practice your chin retractions/nose nods a few times.
    • Do a chin retraction, letting your nose sweep downward slightly. Once it is retracted, keep your chin at the same distance to your neck, but move the top of your head backward.
    • Stay there for a few seconds and move slowly, returning your head to an upright position. Then, move out of the chin retraction. Do this 10 times, working up to increased repetitions and sets.
    • During this exercise, remember that you are not trying to increase the arc of your neck. You are trying to pivot your head backward in a natural and correct manner. People who have had forward head posture for an extended period of time may find this very difficult to do in the beginning.
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    Stretch your chest muscles. Walk into a doorway. Place your right arm against the right side of the door.
    • Bend your elbow so that it is in a 90 degree angle, with your forearm flush with the side of the door.
    • Take a small step forward with your right foot. Keep your forearm touching the door. You should feel a stretch in your pectoral muscles, near your armpit.
    • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Method 3
Diagnosing Incorrect Posture

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    Stand with your back flush against a wall. Align your heels at shoulder width apart, your buttocks against the wall and your shoulder blades touching the wall.
    • Focus on touching your shoulder blades, rather than the tops of your shoulders to the wall. You may need to squeeze your shoulder blades slightly together to get them in a more natural position. This is sometimes called "opening your chest." If you touch the tops of your shoulder blades to the wall, you will over arch your back, resulting in further poor posture.
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    Notice as you get into this stance whether the back of your head touches the wall or not. If it does not touch the wall, you have forward head posture, and it is likely that you suffer from weak neck muscles
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    Get into the correct head posture touching the back of your head to the wall. Next, pretend that there is a string going from the base of your neck to the top of your head. Pull that string up from the top creating a longer neck.
    • As the back of your neck gets longer, you chin should tuck forward toward the back of your neck. This is correct neck and head posture.
    • Make sure you are not simply moving your head backwards and increasing the curve of the neck. This is also improper posture. Focus on creating upward length in the back of the neck.
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    Stand this way for 1 minute. Return to this position frequently to review how your posture is changing.


  • Always do exercises gradually to avoid muscle fatigue. Start with 1 set and move up to more sets and more repetitions as you grow stronger. Muscle fatigue is likely to force you back into improper postures that you are used to.

Things You'll Need

  • Wall
  • Doorway
  • Ergonomic computer set up
  • Supportive neck pillow

Article Info

Categories: Personal Fitness