Based on your assessment results, you have limitations that reflect a “compression”, or tightness, of the back (posterior) side of your upper body. This means that you have tight muscles in that region that are “pushing” your head forward and restricting range of motion associated with the ability to elongate those muscles when necessary.

These muscles include:

  • Low Back Extensors
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Upper Traps

On the visualization, red arrows represent tight muscles and orange arrows represent where your body is being pushed/pulled as a result.

How does this cause forward head posture?

The body is primarily concerend with keeping you alive. An important way we do that is breathing. In fact, there is a good bit of evidence that suggests if you stop breathing, you die 😉

The body likes to self-organize itself in a manner which allows it to most easily breathe and stay upright against gravity. The primary way we take in air is through our diaphragm. Whe we inhale, the diaphragm descends. When we exhale, it ascends.

Muscles of Respiration - Respiratory - Medbullets Step 1

Because you have tightness on the back side of your upper body, your ribs become flared in on the front side of your body which causes your diaphragm to be stuck in a descended position. In order for the diaphragm to ascend properly upon exhalation, the body has to be able to fully exhale and bring the ribcage down in the front. Because your ribs are flared to an extent, this cannot happen optimally. As a result, the diaphragm is stuck in a “hyperinflated” state where it cannot further descend upon inhalation (because it’s already there), nor can it ascend fully upon exhalation.

Sounds like a real Catch-22. However, the body is smart and it wants to help you breathe. So you’ve pushed your head forward to help your accessory respiratory muscles in your neck to gain leverage to help you inhale.

Muscles of Respiration - Physiopedia

The secondary muscles of inhalation in your neck, which should be working to a slight degree during breathing are now working in overdrive to make up for a lack of diaphragm function. Notice that they attach on the upper ribs. They’re trying to open your ribcage to allow for air to come into the compressed area. This chronically shortens the neck muscles and pulls your head forward.

what can we do to fix it?

Restore Diaphragm Function

Many people who have tried to fix Forward Head Posture try to stretch their way out of their problems. While it initially makes sense to stretch out tight muscles, this is addressing a problem in isolation rather than considering the multifactorial nature of posture. We want to address the underlying, root cause which is your lack of diaphragm function. This will allow those tight muscles to let go over time because they won't feel the need to compress you.

Balance Out Muscle Tone

You have likely been in this posture for quite some time now. Therefore, some muscles have gotten "tight", while muscles that oppose those tight tissues are now "longer" and weaker. We will help restore balance to your muscloskeletal system by strengthening the muscles that need it which will help restore balance to your system as a whole.

Strengthen Your New Posture

While it is important to be able to access a new posture, it is equally as important to "own it". We provide exercise routines to help you integrate your new posture into functional movement. This will help you and your body feel confident keeping this new postural orientaiton throughout the day and in tasks that stress the body.

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