Maintaining a forward-facing posture can result in chronic pain, numbness in the hands and arms, breathing inadequacies, and even nerve compression. This is because, for every inch the head moves forward, the neck must support nearly 2 kg of additional weight! Many people don't realize that they have poor posture in their spine, so it's important that you look at yours to see if prolonged use of computers, watching television, or sleeping in the wrong positions has already affected the way you hold your head. Stretch your body and muscles with specific exercises to reduce tension and other symptoms of poor neck posture.
Method 1 of 4: Diagnosing Incorrect Posture Using the Wall Test
Step 1. Stand with your back against the wall
Bring your heels shoulder-width apart, press your buttocks against the surface, and note that your shoulder blades are touching the wall (this area is more important than your upper shoulder contact).
- It may be necessary to squeeze the shoulder blades slightly to get them in a more natural position and flush with the wall. It is sometimes called "opening the chest."
- Once you get to the proper position, keep an eye on your head placement. Note that its back is against the wall. If that's not the case, this is an indication that she's forward and you're likely to have weak muscles in your neck.
Step 2. Position yourself in the correct position, touching the back of your head to the wall
Pretend that there is a rope that runs from the base of the neck to the top of the head. Pull it from the top, leaving the neck elongated. As the back of the neck elongates, the chin should descend and go inward, toward the neck. This is the correct posture for the neck and head.
Avoid simply moving your head back and increasing the curve of your neck. This is an inappropriate posture. Concentrate on stretching the back of your neck
Step 3. Stand like this for a minute
This is the correct head position, and you should remind your body to remember it. Return to this position often to review how your posture has changed.
Method 2 of 4: Relaxing Tense Muscles with Stretches
Step 1. Relax the occipital muscles with a massage ball
The smaller muscles at the base of the skull, just above the point where the back of the head meets the head, are the occiputs. Tension at the site is responsible for a lot of pain, tension, and sometimes headaches and dizziness. The best way to relax your muscles is with a massage ball. Pick up a tennis ball, ping-pong ball, foam roller, or something similar in shape. Lie on your back with your face up and place the ball under your neck, at the base of your skull and on either side of your spine.
Rotate your head from side to side to roll over different areas. Do this exercise for five minutes and remember to massage both sides
Step 2. Lengthen the back of your neck
Stand up straight with your spine straight. Tilt your chin towards your chest. Interlace your fingers and place them behind your head.Not force your head, just let the weight of your arms apply light downward pressure and stretch the back of your neck.
Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise three or more times
Step 3. Lengthen the sides of the nape of the neck
With your nose facing forward, lower your right ear to your right shoulder. Rest your right hand on the side of your head and let the weight of your arm push it gently, stretching the left side of your neck. Again, not force your head - just let the weight of your arm apply light pressure.
- If your shoulders are forward, bend your left elbow and place your left arm behind your back, palms facing outward (while your head is tilted to the right).
- Hold the position for half a minute on each side and repeat the exercise three times.
Step 4. Relax the ECM muscles in the front neck region
The sternocleidomastoid (SCE) is a strong, narrow muscle that starts just behind the ear and reaches the middle of the throat area (it connects to the end of the collarbone, near the midline), creating a V line in your neck. You can possibly feel this muscle band on both sides. Find it and massage it by squeezing and rolling the muscle between your fingers. Go up and down along its entire length.
- Don't go too deep into the neck, where you can hit other more sensitive places. Massage movements are something like gently pulling or lifting the ECM muscles from the other structures in the neck.
- It may be helpful to find and relax the muscle by turning the head in the opposite direction. To do this, turn it to the left with the nose aligned to feel the right ECM.
Step 5. Stretch your pectoral muscles
Approach an open door. Place your right arm against the right jamb, with your palm facing the door. Bend your elbow to a 90° angle and your forearm in line with the threshold. Take a small step forward with your right foot and keep your forearm touching the door. You will feel a stretch in your pectoral muscles, in the front area closest to your armpit.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it on the other side
Step 6. Talk to a professional personal trainer for advice
Chiropractors and massage therapists are experts in understanding how posture problems can cause pain and how to correct them. Talk to a massage therapist or have a chiropractic session and ask about stretches and exercises you can do at home.
Method 3 of 4: Stretching Your Muscles with Exercises
Step 1. Perform chin retracts, also known as nose thrusts
Lie on your back with your face up, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor so you don't wear down the lower back. Keep your nose perpendicular (pointed up) to the ceiling. Slowly thrust your head forward without moving your neck. Visualize yourself drawing a small arc with the tip of your nose. Remember to make slow movements.
Slowly bring your nose upright and repeat the exercise 10 times. After a few days, you can increase your reps to 20 times. Next week, start doing two or three sets of exercises a day. Once you get used to the movement, you can do them standing up against the wall or standing without support
Step 2. Practice squeezing the shoulder blades
Sit in a chair with your back straight. The neck should be long and the knees bent at a 90° angle with the feet on the floor. Compress your shoulder blades as if they were going to touch each other. Hold this position for three seconds, as if you were trying to hold a tennis ball between them. Slowly relax your back back to the starting position.
- Intentionally lower your shoulders if tension has brought them closer to your ears. Let your arms hang by your side.
- Repeat the exercise ten times, moving in a controlled manner. Start holding the position for ten seconds, and as you get stronger, do two to three sets a day.
- It is quite common to experience chest tension and weakness in the back muscles of people who spend a lot of time at a desk or in front of a computer. This usually causes the shoulders to slump forward. This exercise helps to minimize this posture problem.
Step 3. Improve range of motion with advanced chin retracts
Sit in a chair with your back straight and practice chin retracts, or nose thrusts, a few times. In chin retraction, let the nose go down slightly. Then keep it the same distance from your neck, but move the top of your head back.
- Stay in the same position for a few seconds and move slowly, turning your head to an upright position. Then return to the original position. Repeat the exercise 10 times, striving to increase the amount of sets and reps.
- During the exercise, remember that you don't want to increase the arch of the curve of your neck, but to bring your head back naturally and correctly. People who have suffered headfirst for a long time may find this very difficult at first.
Method 4 of 4: Improving Posture with Daily Habits
Step 1. Arrange your computer ergonomically
Elevate the monitor so the top third of the screen is at eye level. Measure the distance from the monitor to the eyes, keeping it between 45 and 60 centimeters. It may be necessary to lean on some books, use a higher or lower table, or adjust the height of the chair. Use a tape measure to determine the distance between your face and the screen and use this data to adjust the chair's position.
Step 2. Avoid carrying heavy bags or backpacks
Always try to have a small size and weight bag or backpack. If there's a lot to carry, use a backpack instead of something with a single strap and buy a model designed to distribute the weight across your entire torso. Avoid carrying the bag always on the same shoulder, or this will result in alignment problems. Change your shoulders regularly.
Step 3. Always stretch after 30 minutes in front of a table, computer or television
If you work at a desk or in front of a computer, get up and walk frequently to lessen the pressure on your neck and back. It can be very beneficial to take a walking break every half hour. Set aside 30 seconds or a minute to do neck stretches every two hours. The same goes if you're sitting on the couch, watching television.
Step 4. Buy a neck pillow
If you often wake up with a stiff neck, it is likely that you are sleeping with poor posture. Neck support pillows make the head stay in the middle of the pillow, supporting it with a very firm curved section at its base.
Step 5. Stand with good posture
When walking, keep your shoulders straight and back. Bring your core (abdominal) muscles together to keep your body upright. Slightly bend your knees to lessen pressure on your hips. Invest in shoes with good arch support - it's extraordinary to see how this helps with posture.
Step 6. Walk in good shape
Keep your chin parallel to the floor as you walk, always starting the impact from the heel and going all the way to the toes. Don't look at your feet or the floor or arch your back; keep your buttocks and abdomen in line with the rest of your body.
Step 7. Use a posture brace
Using a posture brace not only improves the posture, it also solves problems with the placement of the shoulders and spine.