Forward head posture, also called text neck, is a common postural issues.

In a neutral head posture, your ears are lined up with your shoulders when viewed from the side. In forward head posture, your head leans forward often caused by poor posture habits. It is often called “tech-neck” because it is especially prevalent in those who spend prolonged time using technical devices like computers and mobile phones. In fact, a recent study found that bending your head at a 60-degree angle to look at a mobile phone puts 60 pounds of pressure on your cervical spine, the part of the spine above the shoulders. According to the the author, Dr. Hansraj, “As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees”. This extra weight (of up to 4 bowling balls!) adds extra stress to the neck muscles and may lead to early “wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries” according to the author.



Common Presentation

It is important to note that most people have some degree of forward head position because of our sedentary lifestyle and poor posture habits. Usually a person with a higher degree of forward head posture has tight muscles in the back of the neck and weak muscles in the front of the neck. Forward head can lead to chronic neck pain, improper breathing or difficulty swallowing, low back or mid back pain, headaches, and possibly numbness in the arms and hands. If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, weakness, difficulty breathing, burning pain, or prolonged headaches please consult your medical professional immediately.


Self Assessment

Here is a simple test you can perform yourself to feel whether you have a forward head posture. First, lie on a firm surface such a floor or table. A normal spine in terms of shape and mobility will allow you to lie flat with the head and neck in a neutral position where you are looking straight upwards. If there is a a large space between your neck and the floor, and if the chin shoots upwards, and your are looking slightly behind you, it is indicative of a forward head posture.


How can prevent text neck?

Unless pain or other symptoms are present, it is not recommended to seek medical attention for a forward head posture. If you do want to be proactive about your wellbeing, and avoid neck pain or headaches associated with a forward head position, a healthy lifestyle is recommended. This includes a combination of the following: 1. Exercise regularly- Exercises that are focused on strengthening the weak muscles and stretching the tight muscles of the neck, chest, and core can train the body to better hold healthy posture. In the beginning, it may help to have a certified personal trainer or health professional design an exercise program that is specific to your needs. 2. Maintain good posture- Whether it is while texting, using your computer, eating a meal, driving, or watching a show, remember to practice proper neutral posture, avoid sitting for long periods of time, and be aware if you find yourself hunching over.


How Can I Reverse Text Neck?

Do the following exercises daily for 2 weeks:

Static Extension Position