08 July, 2011
Exercises for Forward Head Syndrome
The increase of technology and sedentary lifestyles, is wrecking havoc on the body. Forward head syndrome is characterized by a slumped posture leading to muscle pain, weakness and spinal abnormalities with age. In fact, according to the website Neck Solutions, for every inch your head moves forward, the weight on your neck increases by 10 pounds. Doing certain stretching and strengthening exercises can improve your posture and reduce your forward head.
Lateral Flexion Stretch
The lateral flexion stretch helps loosen the muscles of the upper back and neck. To perform this exercise, gently ease your head to one side so that your ear approaches your shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder and do not strain your neck. You should feel a gentle pull in your back and neck. Hold the stretch in a position that does not cause pain for at least 20 seconds. Repeat on each side.
Shoulder shrugs help strengthen the upper back muscles so better posture is easier to have. The stronger your muscles are, the less pressure will be placed on your spine. Do a shoulder shrug with or without weight -- if you are just starting out you should work up to doing it with extra weight. Simply allow your arms to hang out your sides and slowly bring your shoulders up into a shrug position. Hold this for a few seconds, then slowly bring them back to the starting position. Do one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Scapular Retraction Stretch
This stretch eases the tension of your upper back and neck, particularly the muscles surrounding your shoulder blades. Begin by positioning your arms next to your sides with your elbows bent. Slowly pull your arms back so that your shoulder blades become closer to one another. Hold for at least 20 seconds and repeat often.
Machine or Band Row
The row is similar to the scapular retraction stretch, but it is done in a manner to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and neck. You can do this exercise with a weight machine or you can use a resistance band. Just loop the band around a stationary object and hold one end in each hand. Position your arms at your sides with your elbows bent and pull the weight back so that your scapula come together. Hold for just one second, then return to the starting position and repeat. Try to do one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
- NeckSolutions.com: Correcting Neck Posture: A Key to Pain Relief
- Foundations of Athletic Training; Marcia K. Anderson, Susan J. Hall, et al.
- American Council on Exercise: Standing Barbell Shrug
- Ex Rx.net: Scapula and Clavicle Articulations
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images