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3 Exercises That Reset Your Forward Neck Tilt, According to a Physical Therapist

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosApril 10, 2020

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When you’re working on a computer—especially if you’re working on your computer at home, in a not-so-ergonomic setup—a number of postural woes tend to creep up. One of the most painful? Forward neck tilt, which leads to aches and tightness (and this is only exacerbated when we’re stuck in a COVID-19-induced quarantine). But physical therapist Vinh Pham, PT, co-founder of Myodetox Clinics, has a three-part solution that works to correct forward head posture and all of the aches that come along with it.

Essentially, when you have poor posture for an extended period, it starts to cause damage within your body. “Over time, you can start to develop a hunched back or forward neck posture, which is a condition in which the position of your head is in front of the midline of the torso,” says Pham. That involves having your chin poking out, your mid-back in a hunch, and it can lead to the development of a bump on the back of your  neck. He notes that over time, this can wear out your cervical spine and limit your ability to move your neck, torso, and shoulders.

A consequence of forward head posture, according to Pham, is that you can start relying on your neck muscles for arm movements. “Your neck muscles and upper traps will start to be overactive and tense up in order to hold your head up,” he says. “The neck, mid-back, and shoulders are intimately related, so when one of these areas doesn’t move well, the other areas need to move more to pick up the slack when doing any upper body workouts.”

So, what can you do to prevent this from happening? “Aligning your neck, mid-back, and shoulders, or sitting up straight, is a common way to decrease tension and stiffness in your neck because it allows your muscles to operate on a stable foundation versus a tilted one,” says Pham. And, to help, he has three go-to exercises that isolate your arm muscles from your neck. Not only will they allow you to use the proper muscles when lifting items or doing other arm movements, but they will help banish all of that neck pain and tension that accumulates from having forward head posture. (It me.)

Just note that before you start doing these exercises, Pham recommends warming up your neck. “Move your neck around, then do these exercises and reset,” he says. “You should notice your neck being a lot less stiff and more free.” And a pro tip: Tuck in your chin to align your spine into neutral before you get started.

How to correct forward head posture

1. With your back against a wall and your chin tucked, raise your arms in front of your face, elbows bent at 90-degrees, arms parallel. Slowly raise your arms above your head, then back down in front of your chest. Do three sets of five reps.

2. In the same starting position, take your arms into a goal post position, elbows bent at 90-degrees in line with your shoulders. Raise your arms above your head, then back down a little below your shoulders. Do three sets of five reps.

3. From the same starting position, step your right foot on one end of a resistance band, taking the other end into your right hand. Raise your arm up to in front of your face, elbow bent at 90-degrees. Then slowly press your right arm straight above your head, and then bring it down to the 90-degree position. Repeat for three sets of five reps, then do the same on the left side.

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QUARANTINE RESET🦠 [forward head posture] . Your joints and all the structures that move and support them will degenerate over time due to aging. This is a natural process but you can slow down that degeneration process significantly, by learning how to move better dynamically and avoid prolonged postures that overly wear and tear on your body . When you move your body incorrectly, over time you can start to develop a hunched back / forward head posture. This posture over time will wear out your cervical spine and limit your ability to move your neck / trunk / shoulders! . People with forward head posture often use their neck muscles to help stabilize their shoulder girdle in order to produce smooth arm movements. They basically use their neck to lift things up, instead of their arm. Lol😫 . These exercises will help you learn to move your arms with minimal help from your neck! Which in turn will relax your neck and allow it to get out of that Forward Head position!! . 💎Pro tip : tuck in your chin and align your spine in neutral before you start. Use a wall to make sure you don’t break form. 3 sets of 5 reps is all you need. Focus on being clean with the movement and do them every day . 👉🏼Before you do these exercises, move your neck around. Then do these exercises and retest. You should notice your neck being a lot less stiff and more free! Comment below and tell me how you find these exercises! . #Myodetox #QuarantineReset #FutureProofYourBody

A post shared by Vinh Pham (@vinnierehab) on

Try this five-point posture test to see how your posture stacks up. And here’s the best back brace for posture, as recommended by a physical therapist. 

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