Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist, physical therapist, and Reiki Master with over 20 years of health care experience in Gettysburg, PA. The following article contains information from an article she wrote about “Oh, my aching neck.” I recently wrote an article and did a YouTube video on computer neck, which covers these same topics and show you a few exercises to combat it. I also wrote an article on how these devices are changing our posture.
If you have any of the physical concerns that are associated with a forward head posture, try the following exercises.
While sitting up tall on the edge of a chair, pull the shoulders back and then retract your chin keeping it parallel to the floor. Hold the chin back towards your neck and shoulders. Hold five seconds and repeat 10 to 15 repetitions. A chest stretch, again sit up tall with your back on the chair, bring your hands behind the head to support the neck, open your chest by pulling the elbows back, and extend at the thoracic back or by the shoulder blades and hold. Another standing chest stretch can be done in the corner of a room. Place each palm or forearm on each side of the corner of the wall. Place one foot in front of the other and slowly stretch by leaning the body forward towards the wall; keep your chin tucked down and back. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat three times. Lastly some reverse shoulder rolls. Stand up tall and slowly roll shoulders backward pulling the shoulder blades down and back, and holding them back 10 to 15 times, avoid lifting the shoulders to the ears, skip the top of the “circle.”
So what can you do to prevent the forward head posture? The best way to prevent forward head is to limit the use of your entertainment devices/smartphones. If you need to send a longer e-mail, consider waiting until you have access to a computer, or use an external keyboard. When using your modern technology, sit up straight with your shoulder blades pulled back/towards each other. Bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down to see the screen. Tuck your chin back and into your chest to look down rather than dropping your head forward. Place a pillow on your lap and then rest your forearms on the pillow while typing to help minimize neck tension. Make sure that you take breaks from your entertainment devices about every 20 to 30 minutes. Avoid using your modern technology while in bright sunlight. This causes you to strain to see the screen, which leads to jutting the chin forward, shifting work from the spine to the muscles that hold up the head.
Finally, and I think best of all, put the modern technology on the desk, go outside for a walk, breathe in some fresh air, and take in the beauty of the natural world around you! Limit your screen time and your families to two hours per day! Look into someone’s eyes talking or playing a game rather than into a screen…it will not only save your neck and back, it will improve your personal life satisfaction with real human connection rather than overuse of social media to interact with other humans.