Forward Head Posture

Forward Head Posture

By Catherine "CeCe" English

Are you appropriately addressing your FHP?  

Odds are you’re either reading this on your mobile device or sitting down reading at your computer.  Either way, it’s very possible that you’re currently experiencing FHP, AKA: Forward Head Posture.  FHP isn’t new, but it certainly is getting A LOT more attention these days. Technically, FHP is the anterior (or forward) positioning of your cervical spine, aka: neck. 

Here’s an easy self-assessment to determine whether you have FHP.

 While standing with your back up against a wall (upper back, shoulder blades and hips/booty all touching):

  • Does the back of your head touch the wall without you having to look up?
  • Have someone take a profile picture of you – if you were to draw a straight line from the top of your head, bisecting your ear, does the line intersect with your shoulder?

If your answer is ‘No’ to either one of these, chances are you could be experiencing FHP.

Contributors to this condition include many of the daily activities we do that we probably don’t think twice about such as driving, sitting at a desk, reading, and/or using our cell phone.  All of these positions involve our arms being forward, shoulders rounded forward, upper back rounded, head forward and/or down – and, over time, this can create a shortening and tightening of our chest muscles, lengthening and weakening of our upper back and neck muscles.

Sometimes people experience symptoms such as tension in their shoulders and neck or even pain in these areas as well as in the back and head – AND, because people are sitting more, driving/commuting more and on their personal pocket computers (i.e. cell phones) more, we are seeing a rise in FHP and commonly associated symptoms.  In other cases, people are also reporting more shoulder and neck “problems” and much of this can be attributed to poor posture. AND since posture deals with anatomical/skeletal alignment, poor posture contributes to improper use and over misuse of body mechanics which becomes a vicious cycle of misuse, inflammation, and pain. 

Don’t be a victim to FHP!  Be your own advocate and take an ACTIVE physical approach to stretching and strengthening those muscles associated with FHP.  Don’t be reliant on gadgets being marketed that brace your shoulders or literally “buzz” you to consciousness to sit up taller. Integrating more deliberate movement, exercise and postural awareness takes conscious work and can be easily integrated into your current workout routine without taking time away from your program.