Change your health

Four Easy Ways to Fight Forward Head Posture

woman in car on smartphone
Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash

Forward head posture, “text neck”, anterior head syndrome… these are just a few names for this common postural condition can lead to neck pain, headaches, sore shoulders, reduced respiratory function, early degeneration of my neck spine and many others. All of these painful conditions can certainly get in the way of fun activities like skiing, playing golf, running marathons, playing video games, adventures with grandchildren, and conquering fitness goals.

While forward head posture is nothing new, computers, sedentary jobs and smart phones has made this condition much more common. If ignored, it can lead to permanent changes to the neck spine and eventually will cause a fully hunched over “nursing home posture”. While it could take decades before that occurs, by the time that it does, correcting the posture may no longer be possible.

Here are four easy ways you can fight forward head posture now:

  • Take breaks and stretch when sitting at a computer, playing video games, or using your phone or tablet for an extended period of time. Here’s an example stretching sequence. Practice it slowly, and hold each position for a few moments:
    • Tilt your head back, then forward.
    • Turn to look to your left and to your right.
    • Tilt your head to your left shoulder and your right shoulder.
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
    • Roll your shoulders back.
    • None of these moves should cause any pain, if they do see tip #4.
  • Try neck planks.
    • While lying on your stomach, hold your head up and away from the floor.
    • Hold for 5 seconds.
    • Repeat 10 times and rest.
    • Practice this sequence daily, increasing the hold time by one second until you can hold it for 15 seconds.
    • Neck planks should not hurt or cause a muscle spasm, if they do, the problem may be more complex than muscle weakness.
  • Strengthen the neck with this move.
    • Stand with your back to a wall
    • Push your head against the wall and hold.
    • If you can’t touch the back of your head to the wall, use a folded towel to make up the distance.
  • Schedule an exam with Catalyst Chiropractic to evaluate your neck structure. We’ll perform a complete spinal exam, along with a motion study x-ray of your neck. With this information, we can create a personalized treatment plan to help you correct forward head posture.
woman in yoga plank
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

How to Rehab an ankle, “that always seems to sprain.”

Simple ankle sprains, the ones that you “walk off” or heal in less than two weeks are rarely properly rehabilitated.  Often once the pain is gone and you are able to resume normal use, the problem is considered gone, until the next time it happens.  This guide is to help strengthen your ankles to avoid a repeat sprain.

Before we start to discuss rehab, let’s look at the anatomy of an ankle sprain.  The most common ankle sprains are Inversion Sprains. Wherein you stretch the lateral ligaments of the foot, or in more common terms. The injury happens with the foot turned in, damaging the ligaments on the outside of your foot. Most commonly is the anterior talofibular ligament.  Typically with these sprains there may be minor or no swelling at all.

Below are some suggestions for strengthening the ankles to avoid re-injury. These are not for treatment immediately following an acute sprain. If you have an acute sprain contact a healthcare professional for the best type of treatment for your injury. These instructions can also help improve balance.

Test for your starting point:

 one foot

Stand on 1 foot for up to 60 seconds.  Stop as soon as you start to wobble or become unstable.  Note the length of time.  Then, repeat the exercise with the other foot.  If the amount of time was less than 60 seconds start at Beginner, if more than 60 seconds go to Intermediate.

Note: For safety always do these exercises near a wall or chair you can hold onto, if you suddenly need support.  This exercise is best done barefoot if possible.

Rehab Beginner:

3-4 Times a day: attempt to stand on each foot for up to 60 seconds.  If you start to wobble consistently, put the other foot down, rest for 30-60 seconds and try again.  You are likely to have small wobbles during this exercise those are OK but remember the goal is to strengthen the ankle and large wobbles might re-injure it instead.

Once you can stand on each ankle for 60 seconds without wobbles move to the Intermediate level.

Rehab Intermediate:

3-4 times a day attempt to stand on each foot for 60 seconds with your eyes closed. Everything is the same as the Beginner exercise except you will have your eyes closed.

Once you can stand on each ankle for 60 seconds without wobbles move to the next level.

Rehab Advanced: with variations

Start with same exercises as above on an uneven surface such as a Balance Pad.

Variations are: Doing the exercise with eyes closed; holding weights in hands; or moving arms in circles while holding weights