4 Simple Exercises to Fix Forward Head Posture

4 Simple Exercises to Fix Forward Head Posture

Have you ever noticed a strain in your head or neck when looking at your phone or computer?

This position is referred to as forward head posture (FHP).

It is a common condition that affects millions of people, especially those who work from home or spend a lot of time on a hand-held device. What causes FHP? Can it be corrected? How? Read on to find out more! 

What causes forward head posture? 

Forward Head Posture can be caused by:

  • Slouching
  • Looking down at a phone or other hand-held device for prolonged period of time
  • Hunched posture while on the computer
  • Leaning forward while driving
  • Sewing
  • Sleeping with head elevated
  • Reading in bed
  • Injuries such as whiplash
  • Weakness of the upper back muscles
  • Diseases such as arthritis or bone degeneration
  • Congenital malformation

Neck pain is more often associated with females, old age, ex-smokers, and working jobs requiring forward bent posture or repetitive movements. These populations may be at a higher risk of developing FHP as well. 

How to test for forward head posture?

For a quick at home assessment, stand with your back against the wall. Your shoulder blades and buttocks should be touching the wall. Is your head touching the wall as well? If not, you may have FHP.

For a more in-depth assessment, your doctor or physical therapist may observe your posture by looking at your head in relation to bony landmarks, obtain imaging, and/or measure the craniovertebral angle.

Measuring the craniovertebral angle is the most accurate method of determining the severity of FHP and is done by determining the angle between C7 and the tragus.

Forward Head Posture Symptoms  

As Forward Head Posture (FHP) becomes increasingly common, this problem can lead to a range of uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms.

These symptoms can affect various aspects of your health and daily life, from persistent neck and back pain to more serious conditions like disc herniations and respiratory issues.

Understanding the symptoms of FHP is the first step toward recognizing the need for corrective measures and lifestyle adjustments to alleviate discomfort and improve overall well-being.

Symptoms of FHP may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Headaches
  • Tight muscles throughout the neck and upper back
  • Decreased neck, upper back, and shoulder range of motion
  • Numbness or tingling into arms or hands
  • Decreased postural stability and balance
  • Muscle spasms
  • Disc herniations or other disc issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Dizziness

 Is Forward Head Posture correctable? 

Yes! As discussed in this case study as it relates to text neck and mobile phone, FHP is most often treated by stretching and strengthening the muscles of the head, neck, and back to help maintain proper posture. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medications or muscle relaxers to alleviate tension.

 FHP can also be corrected by maintaining ergonomic positioning of your head, neck, and shoulders while on your phone or computer.

fix bad posture

Licensed Image - Shutterstock

Raising the height of your screens, using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and sitting in the proper desk chair are all ways to reduce the risk of developing FHP. 

Can Forward Head Posture affect dizziness or affect breathing? 

FHP changes the alignment of your spine which in turn can cause unnatural compression of the muscles, nerves, and other tissues throughout your head, neck, upper back, and chest.

If severe enough, FHP can result in the occlusion of the arteries that supply blood to your brain or restrict the rise and fall of your rib cage, resulting in dizziness or shortness of breath.

If this happens to you, you should consult your doctor immediately. 

4 Exercises to Reduce Forward Head Posture

These exercises are designed to address the supportive postural muscle in your head and neck. By stretching and strengthening these muscles, it will help reduce FHP and prevent development of it in the future.

Watch this video for 4 quick forward head posture exercise 

 Chin Tucks Exercise

Begin seated with your feet on the floor.

    1. Gently tuck your chin as if you are trying to give yourself a double chin. It should be a soft movement. If you feel muscle strain, you are likely pushing too hard.
    2. Maintain this position for 3 seconds before relaxing.
    3. Repeat 20 times.

    Scapular retractions

    1. Begin seated with your feet on the floor.
    2. Gently pull your shoulder blade down and back like you are trying to squeeze a pencil between them. You should feel a slight stretch in your chest and tightening of your upper back muscles. If your shoulders get closer to your ears, reset, and imagine pulling your shoulder blades away from your ears.
    3. Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds before relaxing.
    4. Repeat 20 times.

    Doorway stretch

    1. Begin standing in a doorway.
    2. Lift one arm out to the side with your elbow bent just below 90 degrees. Your arm should look like a “W.”
    3. Place your forearm on the doorframe and gentle rotate away from it.
    4. You shoulder feel a pull in your chest. Hold for 30 seconds.
    5. Repeat 2 times on each side.

    Thoracic spine extension

    1. Begin seated in a chair with a backrest.
    2. Lace your hands behind your head and gentle lean back over the top of the backrest.
    3. You should feel a stretch in your upper back. Hold for 3-5 seconds before relaxing.
    4. Repeat 10 times. 


    In today's world, where many of us spend a lot of time on computers or looking at our phones, a common issue called Forward Head Posture (FHP) is becoming more widespread.

    This article has shared insights on what causes this posture problem, its symptoms, and how we can fix it.

    It's important to understand that while FHP might seem like a small thing, it can actually lead to bigger health problems like neck pain, trouble breathing, and feeling dizzy.

    The exercises we've talked about—tucking your chin in, pulling your shoulders back, stretching in a doorway, and leaning back in a chair—are simple ways to fight against FHP.

    These moves, along with making sure your computer and phone are at the right height and you're sitting properly, can make a big difference in improving your posture.

    Fixing our posture is something we need to keep working on, not just a one-time fix.

    Regularly checking how you're sitting, staying active, and being mindful of how you use your devices are key steps to avoid falling back into bad posture habits. If you're unsure about what to do or if you're dealing with pain, it's always a good idea to talk to a doctor or a physical therapist. They can give you advice and help tailored to your needs.

    In short, as we all use technology more and more, keeping an eye on our posture is really important for staying healthy.

    By taking small steps each day to look after our posture, we can avoid pain and health issues down the line. Let's make good posture a part of our daily routine and take care of our health in this digital age.

    Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article



    Fletcher, J. (2021, February 27). Forward head posture: Definition, cause, and how to treat it. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/forward-head-posture 

    Forward Head Posture. (2022, November 22). Physiopedia, . Retrieved 02:08, March 9, 2024 from https://www.physiopedia.com/index.php?title=Forward_Head_Posture&oldid=321240

    Hecht, M. (2020, July 24). Forward head posture: Exercises and stretches to try. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/forward-head-posture

    Dean L. Fishman, D.C., B.S.E.S, The Text Neck Institute, Founder
    Daniel McGee, D.O., The Text Neck Institute, Medical Director. Response to Text Neck and Mobile Phone Viewing Angle: A Case Study.  https://www.text-neck.com/case-study.html

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