For people with minor cases of forward head posture, it can take as little as 2 weeks to correct forward head posture, as long as they put full effort into daily posture correction, exercising, and stretching. For more severe cases it can sometimes take months to achieve noticeable results, it can take longer for people who do not focus on daily posture correction, exercising, and stretching.
What is Forward Head Posture?
Forward head posture, often called nerd neck or text neck, is a posture where your neck slants forward and is positioned with your ears in front of your body’s vertical midline. A normal or correct head posture has your ears lined up with your shoulders. When someone looks at you from the side, they should be able to draw a straight line from your head to your feet, this is correct overall posture.
For every inch you tilt you head forward, you neck has to support about an extra 10 pounds of weight. Tilt your head forward now, you’ll notice how uncomfortable it is and how much more you neck is working versus when you have you head neutrally positioned.
How Does Forward Head Posture Happen?
The most common causes of forward head posture is due to technology, with the rise of technology and office work where you must work on computers for long periods of time at your desk, many people have developed bad posture habit. The term text neck came from the fact that people who spend a lot of time on their phones texting usually slouch forward or tilt their head forward to look at the screen. They do this for long periods of time and develop posture issues such as forward head posture.
This is also come in office jobs as mentioned above or with people who use computers regularly, many will slouch forward to look at their screen or tilt their head forward and hold this position. Over time they make this a habit and forward head posture occurs.
Other reasons this may occur:
- Injury such as whiplash
- Sleeping with your head too high
- Bad driving posture habits
- Wearing a heavy backpack
- Tilting the head forward to relieve pain
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing pain and are accommodating for this by having to modify your posture for example it is highly suggested to see a doctor immediately, always follow your doctors advice over anything you’ll find online. Your doctor knows you best and will be able to best help you figure out how to correct your forward head posture.
Daily Posture Habits That Help Correct Forward Head Posture
Just doing exercises and stretches will never be enough, you need to focus on your posture habits. Its like exercising to lose weight but not fixing your diet, you need to do both correctly to see the best results. If you don’t fix your posture habits, not only will you greatly slow down your progress, but you may not see any progress at all.
Sit Straight And Upright
No matter where you sit, keep an upright posture and make sure your head and neck are vertically aligned with your torso. Do not slouch forward, sit straight and upright. I suggest getting up every 45 minutes to an hour of work to stretch and reinforce your healthy posture habits.
This is especially important for people who work from home, work in an office, or just someone who sits in front of a computer for extended periods of time. This is most likely where the posture issues are being created, pay attention to your posture daily and keep enforcing the good habits to see the fastest results. Doing this will greatly shorten how long it takes to correct forward head posture.
Adjust Car Seat
Another great way to help you correct forward head posture is to adjust your car seat, especially if you spend a lot of time driving. If you have forward head posture and its happening while you drive, this is another area in your life where you need to correct it. Fixing it here will lead you another step closer to helping you correct forward head posture.
Minimize Breathing Through The Mouth
Breathing through the mouth can encourage over-activity of the muscles that cause forward head posture. Keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose. If you have a cold or stuffed nose and can’t help it, focus on getting that handled quickly so you can focus on breathing correctly.
Keep Good Posture While Using Mobile Phones and Computers
The reason this gets its own section is because of how common its become to use phones and computers. Pretty much everyone uses them and almost every has tilted their head forward at one point, this doesn’t just count for sitting, this also means when you’re standing. Whenever using any of these devices, always pay close attention to your head posture and make sure you’re working to help correct forward head posture.
Exercises That Help Correct Forward Head Posture
The next step after you learn good posture habits to help correct forward head posture, is to start doing exercises that will help build muscles to help support your neck. These exercises will not only build your neck muscles, but will also help enforce healthy posture habits naturally. You’ll be able to keep a healthier head posture without thinking about it as you consistently do these exercises.
This exercise is one of my favorite neck exercises to do because its simple and extremely effective. I first learned this from my mixed martial arts coach, then when I had a neck injury and needed physical therapy, my therapist had recommended this exercise to me. So as you can see, this is a proven exercise, recommended by coaches and medical professionals.
To do this exercise, stand or sit upright, head and neck vertically aligned with the torso, and place your right hands fingers on your chin. Now push your chin back as if you were trying to push it into your neck, don’t force it too much. Hold this position for 3 seconds and relax. Do this for 10 to 20 repetitions. I suggest doing this exercise once a day.
You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck but also feel your neck muscles being worked. As you may have been able to notice, this is a mix between an exercise and a stretch, but I labeled it under exercise because it definitely does work your neck and help to correct forward head posture.
Lying Neck Extension
The next exercise to correct forward head posture is another one of my favorites and a staple in my routine for building a strong neck. This can also be done with weights but I recommend doing them without weights to start since you currently want to correct forward head posture mainly. The main use of this exercise will be to build the neck from beginner and go up from there.
To do this exercise, lay on a flat area with your head hanging off the edge, I recommend using a bench like one you’d have in a gym. Let your and hang and slowly lift your head up while keeping your chin tucked in. Once you reach the point where your head and neck align with your torso, stop and hold for 3 seconds, then go back down to the starting position. Do this for 10 to 15 repetitions for 3 sets.
I suggest doing this exercise 3 times a week at most. This exercise will quickly build neck strength and also help build neck size. Doing this exercise along with the chin tucks will help quickly correct forward head posture.
Stretches That Help Correct Forward Head Posture
The next method that will help correct is stretching. This is especially important to do before and/or after doing neck exercises, because currently your neck could be tight, and doing exercises without stretching will only make your neck tighter.
Upper Trapezius Stretch
While standing or sitting tall, make sure your posture is good and your body is straight. Place your left hand behind your back and right hand on the left side of your head. Now pull your head towards your right shoulder until you feel the stretch in your neck. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Now switch to the other side. Place your right hand behind your back and left hand on the right side of your head. Now pull your head towards your left shoulder until you feel the stretch in your neck. Hold this neck stretch position for 30 seconds.
Do this neck stretch a few times a day, be gentle and don’t push yourself too hard or your neck pain can get worse. The pain should get better after a few days to a week.
Sit or stand straight with good posture, head in neutral position and looking straight forward. Slowly tilt your head to the right and pause for 10 seconds. Then roll your head to the back and pause for 10 seconds. Then to the left and pause for 10 seconds. Finally roll it forward and pause for 10 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your neck when doing this each time you rotate your neck.
Repeat these same steps in the opposite direction, be sure to do this slowly to avoid hurting yourself and making your neck pain worse.
Following these methods consistently will greatly speed up your progress to helping you correct forward head posture. If you do feel any pain during any of these methods, please consult with your doctor immediately to find out more about your situation and help develop a plan to help you correct forward head posture.
Some in-depth studies on forward head posture: