Poor neck posture, also known as the forward head posture, is a common health condition worldwide. The condition is characterized by positioning your head in front of your body’s vertical midline. A normal neck posture is when your head remains neutral, and your ears align with your midline and shoulders.

Poor neck posture can cause unbalanced gait, stiffness, discomfort, and pain in your neck. The condition also worsens the symptoms of kyphosis, also known as rounded shoulders. Studies show that strengthening and stretching exercises can correct neck posture and relieve pain in the muscles.

Forward head posture is also known as “nerd neck” and “text neck.” It usually results from bend forward at an office disk or hunching over a computer or phone. Poor neck posture is more common in older adults due to the natural deterioration of muscle strength. Read on!

What Research Studies Say?

A 2019 research study found that poor neck posture can lead to reduced lung function. Another review study found that poor neck posture and round shoulders (kyphosis) have increased mortality rates, especially in older adults. It affects both men and women above the age of 60.

A study published by Europe PMC in 2014 shows that normal neck posture maintains a healthy weight (10 to 12 pounds) of the head on the spine. However, when a person hunches forward at a 45 degrees angle, the head’s weight is increased to almost 50 pounds.

Besides, poor neck posture affects your body balance. A 2012 study found that people who spend more than six hours on computer desks have reduced balancing ability. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on your neck posture by avoiding prolonged sitting at a computer desk.

Causes of Poor Neck Posture

Poor neck posture often occurs when a person hunches over at the computer desk or uses an electronic device, such as a cellphone, for prolonged periods. One study shows that strengthening can stretching exercises under the guidance of a qualified physical therapist or chiropractor can restore normal neck alignment and relieve discomfort or pain. Causes of poor neck posture or forward head posture are:

  • Hunching over the steering wheel for prolonged periods
  • Leaning forward your body to perform certain activities like sewing
  • Slouching and other bad postures for a prolonged period
  • Carrying a heavy backpack that affects shoulder and neck muscles
  • Reading in bed or sleeping on a low-quality pillow
  • Injuries, strain, sprain, and weaken muscles in the upper back
  • Degenerative diseases, including bulging discs and arthritis

Side Effects of Poor Neck Posture

Poor neck posture affects your upper back, shoulders, and neck muscles. A misaligned neck posture can overload your upper body muscles and tissues, reducing their strength and altering their length.

Your front neck muscles get weaker and shorter, whereas your back of your neck tightens and lengthens. Poor neck posture also affects your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Other side effects include tight neck muscles, chronic neck pain, reduced range of motion, spinal pain, headaches, jaw pain, tingling or numbness in your arms, herniated disc, muscle spasms, and poor balance.

How to Maintain Neck Posture with Exercise?

There are several strengthening and stretching exercises that can help maintain proper neck posture. In this section, I will talk about some exercises and tell you how to perform them. Include anti-inflammatory food in your diet regimen to reduce swelling and inflammation that occur due to poor neck posture. Remember, exercise and diet are crucial for your overall good posture, alignment, balance, and range of motion.

Chin Tucks

Chins tucks are a great exercise to strengthen your neck and improve its flexibility. The best thing about chin tucks is that you can do this exercise anywhere, whether standing or sitting. Here are the steps to do chin tucks. Keep reading!

  • Straighten your head and keep your chin parallel to the ground
  • Now, pull your chin back toward your torso (this is something like making a double chin)
  • Keep your chin tucked in, while moving the back of your head from your neck’s base.
  • Stay in this position for at least 5-10 second or three deep breaths

Chin Tuck Lying Down

Chin Tuck, while lying down, is an excellent exercise to strengthen your neck in the morning. I recommend doing this stretch when you wake up in the morning while still in bed. Like regular chin tucks, this exercise also strengthens your neck and keep it flexible.

  • Lie on your spine and keep a rolled towel under your neck
  • Start the exercise by tucking in your chin
  • Then, return to the normal position
  • Repeat the steps at least 10-20 times

Chin Tuck Standing against a Wall

If you want to improve your neck posture and align it with the rest of your body, perform chin tuck while standing against a wall. It also keeps your spine aligned with your neck and feet. Here are the steps to do this exercise properly.

  • Start the exercise by standing straight against the wall
  • Keep your spine, head, and shoulders flat against the wall
  • Now, tuck in your chin and stay in this position for a few seconds
  • Return to the original position and repeat

Forward Neck Stretch

Forward neck stretch is the modification of the regular chin tuck exercise. The exercise maintains your neck flexibility and preserve its range of motion. It also relieves the stiffness in your neck by maintaining its joints’ elasticity. Forward neck stretch can be done every day to strengthen your neck muscles. Here are the steps to do this stretch.

  • Stand or sit comfortably and tuck in your chin using your hand
  • Place your other hand on your head and start pushing as you pull the head forward
  • Make sure your head stretches down toward your torso
  • When you feel a stretch, stay in this position for at least 20 seconds
  • Return to the original position and repeat the exercise at least 3-5 times

Final Words

Poor neck posture is common among people who spend most of their time bending over electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers. It disrupts your balance, weakens your neck muscles, and affects your overall body alignment. As a result, you feel more discomfort and pain in your neck, shoulders, chest, and spine. Stretching exercises are a great way to restore your neck posture.