Hold your head erect but relaxed

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Reema, Lynn, Joely and 5 others

It's unfortunate that people often disregard the correct posturing of their heads. Everywhere you go, you notice people with very bad posture including those who walk with their heads thrust forward from their body. This thrusting the head forward is called "Forward Head Posture". It's not only bad for your health but very unattractive, giving you an awkward look. If you suffer from similar this unhealthy posturing, and are worried about how your head looks when you walk, sit, or do any other activity, read on!

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About Forward Posture – Slouching

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What is it?

Forward posture, also known as slouching, is the condition where your shoulders roll forward and head has a significant forward alignment. Forward posture is common with those who spend an extensive amount of time in front of a computer leaning forward to stare at the screen. For others, forward posture can be related to either under or overdeveloped neck and shoulder muscles, or may simply be a habit developed over many years. Whatever the reason, in the long run, forward posture can greatly affect your overall appearance and well-being if it is not properly managed.

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What Effects Does it Have on Your Body?

  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Shoulder, neck and upper-back pain.
  • Damage to joints, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels & nerves.
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia.
  • Migraines and headaches.
  • Impaired performance in sports.
  • Loss of up to 2 inches in height.
  • Arthritis.
  • You'll appear 10 pounds heavier than you are.
  • Sleep apnea – snoring, mouth breathing.
  • Compromises your spine.
  • Causes pinched nerves/sciatica.
  • Impairs range of motion.
  • Restricts blood flow to the brain.
  • Jaw pain and sinus issues
  • Increases frequency of asthma attacks.
  • Burdens your digestive system
  • Destroys confidence.
  • Affects lung capacity.
  • Causes dizziness, vertigo and issues with balance.
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How To Correct Forward Head Posture/Slouching

  1. 1
    It's very important to realize that being aware of your posture, will help you solve the problem you have with forward head posture.
    Head2.gif
    Holding your head erect but relaxed is something you must be aware of at all times in order to correct your posture. When life gets busy however, maintaining concentration on your posture can become difficult. To ensure you are giving yourself enough practice, try to take breaks during the course of your day and just to focus on your posture. You may notice that your head is leaning slightly forward due to over-extending your neck when looking at something, especially if you are working on a computer (see below). Also pay attention to how you are sitting during meetings, dates, while writing, reading and even having a casual conversation with your friends. To correct your posture you must make a conscious effort to change the bad habit of slouching.
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  2. 2
    Lean on a wall.
    ENG CROP Head3.jpg
    Find a wall or something vertical. Anything will do provided it will support your body weight, not just your head, and is flat. Now lean against the wall to your back is flat against its surface. If you notice a strain in some muscles while you are doing this, it's because your whole body has become used to an unhealthy posture, not just your head. Next, look at something directly opposite you at eye level. Stare at this object keeping your back flat against the wall for 5-10 minutes. You can also do this sitting down if you prefer. Do this activity every day. After doing this exercise, you should naturally be able to hold your head straight for longer amounts of time each day. You are working to reprogramming your body to better posture.
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  3. 3
    Lie flat on your back.
    Head4.jpg
    This actually works like a charm as you can even do it while sleeping. To do this, you must make a conscious effort to sleep straight for as much of the night as possible. When you are about to go to sleep, lie on your back and align your head vertically with your body. Do not use a very high or big pillow, as that can actually contribute to you developing further forward head posture.
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  4. 4
    Do shoulder blade squeezes.
    Head5.jpg
    You may not notice it, but your bad posture can take a toll on your head, neck and shoulder muscles. To reduce the tension and stress your head is experiencing; perform shoulder blade squeezes from time to time. To do this, rotate your shoulders in slow circles. Remember to relax and drop your shoulders during this process. At the same time, rotate your head from left to right, front and back. Count from one to eight, and do this for three minutes every day.
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  5. 5
    Keep practicing.
    Note that holding your head erect but relaxed is a practice you should continue daily. Performing these exercises can actually improve your lifestyle and makes you appear taller and more regal. Maintain correct posture and remain aware of how you keep your head level with your body. Be sure, however, to not over exaggerate your posture, as it will appear forced and unnatural. Make a conscious effort to practice it several times a day.
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How to Detect Forward Head Posture

Jmgf FHPosture.jpg

FHP (Forward Head Posture) is not difficult to detect. To assess someone, have the individual look up at the ceiling, then down at the floor, and then straight ahead. Find the center between his or her shoulders and draw an imaginary line going up. It needs to land through the center of the ear's ditch (external auditory meatus). Forward head posture can also be checked by a doctor or chiropractor. Medical physicians can usually help to fix these kind of problems. Long standing postural difficulties like FHP will often result in spine and nerve damage, and a myriad of other issues. See above for a list.

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Common Causes

The weight of a child's backpack can create issues in their posture causing many health problems.
  1. 1
    Backpacks.
    Children are now using backpacks to carry school items weighing up to a frightening 30-40 pounds! This forces the carrier's head forward to help counterbalance the weight, causing abnormal stress on the discs, joints and nerves in the neck, shoulders and small of the back. Signs are seldom present in the beginning.
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  2. 2
    Computers.
    The primary factor in FHP is having computer screens positioned too low and then having to lean forward to read the screen.
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  3. 3
    Video games and television.
    Many kids utilize poor posture when playing video games and enjoying TV. Repetitively sitting in one position for a long time causes your body to adapt to this negative posture.
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  4. 4
    Trauma.
    Falls and trauma can cause breaks, resulting in muscle imbalance. Such an imbalance in muscles pulls the spine out of alignment and forces the head to move forward.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Do the above exercises regularly. In time you will notice proper head posture becomes natural to you.
  • Always remain relaxed when you are working on your posture. Trying too hard and becoming stiff can cause muscle tension.
  • If you are experiencing extreme pain in your head or having sharp pains when erecting your head, visit a doctor immediately.
  • It can also help to ask someone, preferably a friend or family member to monitor your posture and tell you every time your posture is off.

Questions and Answers

Does your posture while playing video games affect your score?

Proper gaming posture

The answer is yes, posture greatly affects the score while playing video games. There are video games that require good body mechanics to end up with better game results. Video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii, allows players to wirelessly control the game with a handheld remote device that can scan the movement in three dimensions. These games require users to have good posture. If the user plays a virtual game, like tennis on the Wii console, the player should have a proper body mechanic in order to come up with better game play. The Wii game console requires proper posture for better interaction and coordination between the user and the virtual game.

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There are also online and offline video games that require good posture. A good example is a third-person shooting game platform like Counterstrike, Battlefield, Commando and Modern Warfare. A third-person shooting game requires players to have a good posture in order to have better coordination with the game's controllers, the mouse and the keyboard. With bad posture, players may find it hard to properly coordinate their movements to the controllers of the game, resulting in lower scores compared to the well-postured player.

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Yes, while playing video games, your posture will affect your score. It will affect your score because there are postures you are comfortable with, so do that posture that you are comfortable while playing and you can see the results. All of us have a different posture when playing video games. You can try different postures while playing and you will notice or feel that you are not comfortable with it and you might end up with a bad score. So you must know what posture you are comfortable with while playing to get a high score.

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Correct forward head posture as you sleep?

The best way to sleep without any neck pain or back pain is to use a comfy pillow under your head. Make sure that your pillow is not too high or too low. Do not sleep on your stomach either because it strains the neck. Find a firm and comfy mattress as well because it plays a big part in how well you sleep and your posture while you are asleep.

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Fig 3.gif

Forward Head Posture is a condition that arises from sleeping with the head too elevated, using computers for long periods, lack of developed back muscle strength and lack of various nutrients such as calcium. There are many ways to fix forward head posture. One way is by using a wall to help you find the correct position to stand in by having it help to align your neck and shoulders. Stand against a wall with your body and head flat against the wall. Attempt to straighten and elongate your neck out so that your head and body are flat against the wall, and you are upright completely. Do this for a minute at a time multiple times a day to improve your posture. Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of muscular exercise you do. Strengthening the back and neck is the key to good posture. Now in reference to you asking for the correct posture as you sleep, attempt to reduce the amount of pillows you sleep with to lower the elevation of your head.

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Keep head erect while reading?

This depends on your posture as well. If you make sure you are sitting in an erect position, then this will also help keep your head erect while reading. As much as possible, avoid slouching in your chair while reading. Also, make sure the lighting is appropriate. Most of the time, your head starts to slope down more because you can't see what you're reading because of poor lighting. Sit properly all the time.

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Make sure you have the right reading glasses. When you strain your eyes, you strain your neck.

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Angela, Eng, Jonathan V. Lomabao

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