The head juts forward and places a greater stress on your neck and shoulder muscles and can ultimately lead to a 'dowagers hump' than many dread.
Your head/neck posture has a big impact on your body shape, and even your health and well-being. But why should something as simple as the position of your head and neck be so important?
- The weight of your head and,
- Your postural reflexes are hugely influenced by your head and neck muscles.
If your head is sitting in the wrong position, it places unnecessary stress on the rest of your body.
Let's look at the first reason; the weight of your head. The average head weighs between 8 to 10 pounds (that's around 4 kilograms!). It's heavy, and if it's pulling your neck forward, or back, it will cause undue stress on your neck, back and shoulder muscles.
Take a look at the photo above right again. The head is stuck out in front of the body, pulling the neck forward and putting strain on the muscles of the neck as they struggle to keep the heavy head in place. The white line shows the forward curve of the spine, the red line, where tension can build, and the blue, shows how the head is collapsing back into the neck.
Over time, this posture will cause excessive curving of the upper spine and lead to other posture-related problems. These include muscle aches and pains, poor breathing, circulation problems and even poor digestion.
Correcting Forward Head Posture
Place your index fingers in the groves behind each ear. In between these two points and roughly level with your eyes is where you head sits on top of your spine. This is much higher than most people think!
Now look up and down, then left and right without letting your neck do the movement.
Ideally the blue line should be horizontal but this is very close.When your head sits in this position, the weight will be easily supported by your whole body and minimal muscular effort is required.
Static postures and movement will be freer as your head-righting reflexes will be able to work efficiently without interference from excessive tension.
Please note, this position should not be held! This will create undue tension. Ultimately, it's not about correct position, it's about being poised so your head will balance in its optimum place.
Try to remain aware of the head balancing on the top of your spine as you go about your daily activities and you will notice a difference in your movement. You may also feel lighter as your coordination improves!
Roy Palmer is a Teacher of The Alexander Technique. If you'd like to book an introductory session to learn the technique, please contact us today.