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Forward Head Posture – symptoms and causes

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What is forward head posture?

In simple terms, forward head posture is a bad posture. It is one of the most common posture problems. In this condition, the skull protrudes forward more than an inch over the body into in the neck. The cervical spine will have an anterior tilting. If you had most forward 1 inch, the weight of the head will increase by at least 10 pounds. Because of such extra pressure on the cervical extensors and the neck will result in forward head posture (FHP).

This condition can cause many problems in the body including pain in the neck and shoulders, job pain, migraine and cervical spine arthritis.

Causes of forward head posture

Some of the most common causes of forward head posture are-

  • Weakness in the neck muscles
  • Some injuries, like neck sprains and strains
  • Poor or bad sleeping position
  • Incorrect breathing habits
  • Driver’s-can be one cause of forward head posture
  • Texting-neck
  • Sofa-neck
  • Computer-neck
  • Reader’s-neck
  • Repetitive use of/or indulging in TV, computer, video games, texting, gardening and carrying heavy backpacks can also cause forward head posture
  • Rotational athletics where you dominantly use one side of the body. Such sports include golf, tennis, baseball and hockey. They can also cause forward head posture.
  • Certain movements during work can also result in forward head posture. The risk is higher in some of the provisions like massage therapists, hair stylists, painters, writers and computer developers

Signs and symptoms of forward head posture

If there is increased pressure on the shoulders and neck, they will need to carry additional stress throughout the day which can result in isometric contraction of the neck and shoulder muscles. It may strain your neck muscles, reduce blood circulation and can cause pain and fatigue in the neck muscles. Some of the most common symptoms of this problem include-

  • Forward tilting of the head.
  • Chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, upper, lower and middle back.
  • Rounded shoulders.
  • Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
  • Teeth clenching.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Pinched nerves.
  • Decrease in overall height.
  • Decrease in the range of motion.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and arms.
  • Tightness and soreness in the neck and chest muscles.
  • Insomnia or poor sleep.
  • Decrease in the athletic performance.
  • Disc degeneration.
  • Sleep apnea/mouth breathing.
  • Facial pain (Trigeminal neuralgia).

Physical consequences

There will be some physical consequences of forward head posture. This condition can result in some physical problems because it puts extra pressure on the neck due to the altered or a weak posture. It can cause extra stress on the muscles, ligaments, joints and bones of the neck. All these factors can cause degeneration of the joints or acceleration of the degeneration of the joints. If that happens, it may ultimately lead to neck arthritis or the generated joint diseases. This condition also causes tension and pain in the neck, shoulder, had and spine. If you suffer from chronic or persistent forward head posture, it can result in disk herniation, nerve impingement, myospasm and osteoporosis.

Physiological consequences

Forward head posture has a negative effect on different physiological systems of the body that includes breathing and production of hormones. It can also result in changes in mood, blood pressure, and pulse and lung capacity. In some cases, lung capacity can be decreased by 30% because of forward head posture.

Muscle imbalances

Forward head posture can also result in different muscle imbalances because of weak and inhibited muscles.


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