Anyone who has ever experienced ongoing pain in the back or neck knows just how this type of discomfort can undermine the day. Before assuming that there is no way to alleviate this pain, consider using a natural alternative that has provided relief for many patients. That alternative is known as correct forward head posture.
What Does Head Posture Have to Do with Back and Neck Pain?
Correct posture properly aligns the spine, neck, and head. Poor posture places additional stress on those areas. This paves the way for inflamed and pinched nerves that trigger excruciating neck pain. The muscles are also likely to react by carrying more tension. The result is ongoing pain that makes everything harder to manage.
Ongoing poor posture will result in numbness in the arms and the hands. You may also find that breathing is more difficult. Unless treatment is sought, there is even the possibility of developing a degenerated disc somewhere along the spinal column.
Assessing Forward Head Posture
Start by standing with your back against the wall. Make sure your feet are spaced to coincide with the distance between your shoulders. To make sure the stance is complete, your shoulder blades and your buttocks must be touching the wall.
Keep in mind that you may need to throw your shoulders back slightly. This has the effect of expanding the chest and squeezing the shoulder blades slightly. Remember that the goal is for the shoulder blades to touch the wall. If the tops of your shoulders do not also touch the wall, that is fine.
Once you are in this position, notice if your head naturally and comfortably touches the wall. If it does, then you do not have a problem with forward head posture. If the back of your head is not in contact with the wall, then there’s a good chance that correcting your posture will alleviate a lot of the pain in the back and neck that you are currently experiencing.
Correcting Your Posture
A key element in achieving correct head posture is strengthening the neck muscles. This can be done by using simple exercises that specifically target those muscles. One of the most basic is known as a nose nod or a chin retraction.
Lay on your back and move the head forward without moving the neck. You will feel some tension on the neck muscles. This is good, since that tension is strengthening those muscles. Return to a resting position and repeat ten times. Stick with this daily regimen for a week, then increase to twenty repetitions. After another week, go for two or even three rounds per day. Make sure to space those rounds out, allowing at least a few hours between each one.
Making Changes that Will Help With Posture
Exercise is only part of the process of reducing neck pain. If you spend a lot of time on a computer, align the screen so that the top third is at eye level. This will help prevent the impulse to look downward while you work.
Never carry a backpack on one shoulder. Use both straps and distribute the weight evenly along the back.
Invest in a pillow that offers excellent support for the neck at night.
Get way from the computer frequently during the day. A two minute walk breaks the tension and eases the stress on your back muscles.