Forward Head Posture
Leaning forward with our shoulders rounded: isn’t that what we all have the tendency to do when we look at a computer screen or our phone? This stooping over with your neck forward adds around 10 extra pounds of pressure on the cervical spine for every inch that the head is held in poor posture.
If you do not do anything about it, this can potentially cause headaches and migraines, along with the obvious stress on the shoulders, chest, traps, and other adjoining muscle groups. Forward head posture can also impact the alignment of the entire spine and your breathing.
Some simple strategies can be implemented to maintain proper posture throughout the day when looking at a screen. Modifying your workspace, lessening screen time whenever possible, and doing some simple exercises for the neck and overall posture can tremendously help.
Modify Your Workspace
Make sure the chair you are using lets you sit back at least 20 or 30 degrees – you will then have to pack your neck back (which is the correct neutral position) instead of having your head drift forward.
When you look at the monitor, it should be positioned right in front of you so you don’t have to move your head up or down. Move your eyes (up and down the monitor) when needed, but do your best to keep your head in the neutral position mentioned above. The same goes for if you are at a standing workstation.
Limit Screen Time Whenever You Can
Limit the amount of time you spend on your phone if needed.
And, as mentioned in Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable, when you have to sit for long periods of time, such as when working at a computer, every 30 minutes or so, you want to get up, stretch, and walk a little bit. If you are at a standing workstation, you still need to take regular breathers.
A few squats or other simple exercises can be nice little breaks from screen time, and an ideal way to increase blood flow. Go outside for a short walk and get some beneficial sunlight whenever possible!
Exercises for the Neck
Every day, I do a set of very simple neck exercises: the McKenzie Method neck retraction, neck extension, and neck rotation. Some helpful exercises are also demonstrated by chiropractic physician Matt Eichler on Instagram. And I find the brugger posture exercise very beneficial as well, quite similar to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) in yoga.
Along with modifying your workspace and limiting screen time the best you can, working every day on your neck mobility and flexibility while strengthening it will benefit your overall posture to a great extent. See with your personal physician which exercises are best for you to start with. Just a small exercise or two several times throughout the day, whenever you have a couple of minutes, can be all it takes!
Until next time!
“Forward Head Posture.” Chiro.org, chiro.org/LINKS/Forward_Head_Posture.shtml. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.
“How to Fix Tech Neck: Biohacking Neck Pain.” Dave Asprey, 16 July 2021, daveasprey.com/biohacking-neck-pain/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.
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