Forward head posture correction

Got neck pain? This article may hold the simple solution to completely eliminate all of your pain.

Upon reviewing several clients with persisting neck, upper back and shoulder pain, the most common characteristic shared amongst all of them – a poked neck (aka Forward Head Posture).

Did you know that for every inch that your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, you add ~10 extra pounds of force on your neck.

… That’s a lot of pressure on your neck muscles and joints!

Let me help you completely rid yourself of neck pain once and for all by using these simple exercises.


This article will cover the following:

 


BONUS download: Here is a complete list (PDF) of all the exercises mentioned in this post! Download now!

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// So, what exactly is the forward head posture?

This is simply illustrated by the photo below.

forward head posture

As you can see, the head position is protruding forward in relation to the shoulder joint.

This is very common in people who sit in front of a computer for most of the day.

Wait a minute, is that you?

If someone were to take a side profile photo of you right now, would you also fall into the category of having a forward head posture? My guess would probably be YES. Guilty as charged!

But don’t worry, we can work together to fix this. A Forward Head Posture does NOT have to be permanent.

// How can you tell if I have a forward head posture?

forward head posture

Easy… Stand up right now!

Place your back towards a wall with your bottom, lower back and shoulder blades completely flat against the wall. Are you up against the wall? Good. If not, stop reading and get  into position!

Whilst standing, does the back of your head naturally come in contact with the wall? (make sure that you’re not cheating by looking up or over arching your back).

If you are like the 90% of the patients I see, the chances are that you have tested positive for the forward head posture.

// If left unfixed, what problems can it lead to?

A forward head posture may be the main reason for tension, stiffness or pain in your neck, shoulders and back.

If left untreated, these symptoms will not only worsen over time, your head may continue to poke forward resulting in an unflattering hunched appearance, similar to Mr Burns’ posture seen below.

223dd

Not only does this forward head posture look unappealing, it can also lead to muscular tightness, premature joint arthritis and nerve impingement – all of which are very difficult to reverse (… if at all possible) once in its advanced stages.

// What causes the forward head posture?

The forward head posture is part of a bigger problem – bad posture.

The human body was not designed for prolonged periods of sitting or sedentary lifestyles. Our bodies automatically adapt to our environment and when we continually place ourselves in sub-optimal positions such as hours of sitting, certain muscles that are responsible for good posture will weaken and tighten.

As the body follows where the head goes, if you have a forward head posture, your shoulders will also hunch forward with it.

Is your work station causing your forward head posture?: Have a look at this post: FREE EBOOK – How to set up your work station.
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The 6 steps to fix a Forward Head Posture

All exercises are designed to be gentle and pain free.

If you are unsure of anything, you may want to seek some advice from your health professional prior commencing these exercises.


Recommendation:

You need to do the following exercises at least once a day to see any significant benefit. It should take you roughly 20-30 minutes to complete properly.


1. Neck releases

Suboccipital

There is a group of muscles which get very tight underneath the base of your skull (see above: X marks the spot).

These muscles are required to be loosened up before we can correct the position of your head. If you have pain in the neck, it is likely that you may experience a sense of heaviness or tenderness in this particular area.

These muscles are usually over active in people with a forward head posture and can be responsible for symptoms such as dizziness or headaches.

a) Massage ball release

Massage balls (or anything of the similar shape) make a great tool to release this area.

Sub Occipital massage

Instructions:

  • Place the ball under your head as to press into the areas underneath the base of the skull.
  • Practice rotating your head from side to side to emphasise certain areas.
  • Generally speaking, if it hurts, you are on the right area.
  • Aim to get a solid 5 minutes of this.
  • Do both sides.

If you can’t get your hands on any massage balls, you can apply pressure to the same areas by pressing with your thumbs, however, please do not injure those thumbs of yours!

Note: If you start to feel dizzy or your pain gets significantly worse, apply less pressure on the neck as you may not be used to the exercise yet.

b) Stretch

neck stretch back

Instructions:

  • With your hands at the back of your head, pull your head down.
  • Aim to feel the stretch at the back of your neck.
  • Hold for a minimum for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

c) Sternocleidomastoid release

scm release

Instructions:

  • Locate the target areas. (see above)
  • You should be able to feel a prominent band of muscle on each side of the neck.
  • Do not to press too deep as you may hit other sensitive structures of the neck.
  • Gently massage these muscles with a pinch grip.
  • Duration: 1 minute each side.

*** Check out this post: The complete list of neck exercises for other great neck stretches.

2. Chin tucks

Now that those tight neck muscles are released, we can start to strengthen the muscles that are responsible for maintaining the correct position of the head.

 

a) Chin tuck

chintuck

Instructions:

  • Whilst sitting upright, gently tuck your chin in as to make a double chin.
    • (Yes , I know it feels weird and looks odd, but I guarantee you that the more you do this, the easier it will become).
  • Aim to feel a gentle lengthening sensation at the back of your neck.
  • A common mistake I often see is the person starts to move their head up/down. Make sure your eyes and jaw stay level, and move the head horizontally backwards.
    • Think of the movement like a book sliding back into the shelf.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 30 times.

As this exercise becomes easier, challenge yourself with the following exercise progressions…

b) Chin tuck (against gravity)

chin tuck against gravity

Instructions:

  • Whilst lying on your stomach and your head off the edge of a bed (as above), continue to gently tuck your chin in as described before.
  • Since you are moving your head against gravity, there is a greater challenge on your muscles.
  • Aim to hold for 5 seconds with 30 repetition.

c) Chin tuck (with resistance band)

retractionwithresistance

Instructions:

  • Apply a resistance band around the back of your neck. (see above)
  • Pull the band as to increase the tension on the band,
  • Proceed to do a chin tuck against the resistance band.
  • Aim to hold for 5 seconds with 30 repetition.

If you can do this exercises with proper technique, you are well on your way on developing strong muscles of the neck.

 

3. Chin nods

We also need to strengthen the muscles at the front of your neck (called the deep neck flexors) which work in conjunction with the muscles at the back.

Chin nod

Instructions:

  • Lie down with a fairly thin pillow to support your neck
  • Gently perform a chin tuck (as above) and add a chin nod (as if to say ‘yes’).
  • As you perform this exercises, you may feel a slight stretch at the back of the neck, but also a small sensation of the muscles at front moving.
    • Remain as relaxed as possible. You should not feel the muscles at the front of your neck strain as you nod. Be gentle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 30 times.

Progression:

Chin tuck/nod over edge of bed

neckretractionDNF

Instructions:

  • Lie on your back with your head over the edge of the bed.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Keep your neck muscles are relaxed as possible.
  • NOTE: If you find that you are tensing your neck excessively, focus on the other exercises until you can comfortably perform this technique properly.

4. Improve spine mobility

a) Thoracic mobility:

If the thoracic spine (upper back) is stiff and hunched forward (… which it is in most people who sit a lot), it can indirectly cause the Forward Head Posture.

Thoracic extension

Instructions:

  • Place a foam roller (a rolled up towel will work too) on the floor.
  • Lie down on the ground and position the foam roll so that it is in the middle of your upper back.
  • Stretch arms over head and arch backwards.
  • Hold for 1 minute.

Check out the post: Best thoracic mobility exercises for more information.

b) Neck mobility

Your neck joints may be stuck in the poked neck position. Let’s free them up!


Video from McKenzie Institute International.

Instructions:

  • Tuck your chin. (think about the movement as a book sliding back into the shelf)
  • Whilst maintaining this chin tucked position, proceed to look up/down.
  • Ensure that you do not poke your chin out excessively during the movement.
  • You should feel a “bruisy” (… but not painful!) sensation at the base of your neck.
    • If it is painful, limit the amount you look upwards.
  • Repeat 30 times.

 

5. Open up the front of the chest/shoulder

If you have a Forward Head Posture, then you most likely have tightness at the front of your chest/shoulder due to shoulder hunching.

If you would like more information, check out this post: How to fix Rounded Shoulders.

a) Chest stretch:

Chest stretch

Instructions:

  • Place both hands on the door frame. (see above)
  • Lunge forward.
  • You should feel a stretch in the front part of your shoulder/chest region.
  • Try this exercise at different angles to get different areas of tightness.
  • Hold for a minimum for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

b) Front shoulder stretch

Front shoulder stretch

Instructions:

  • Whilst keeping your hands on a chair behind you, slowly squat down until you feel a stretch at the front of your shoulder.
  • Make sure you maintain an upright posture.
  • Do not flare your elbows out.
  • Hold for a minimum for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. 

6. Strengthen postural muscles

To prevent the front of your shoulders rounding forward and becoming tight again, you will need to strengthen the scapula blade muscles.

wall squeeze

Instructions:

  • Place both hands high up on a wall in front of you.
  • Lean firmly into your hands.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

 … Want even more great ways to fix your posture? Check these out!

 

// Extra tips

When sleeping on  your back: Do not use an overly thick pillow to support the neck as this will push your head forward. Your ideal neck alignment should be maintained whilst lying down.

When walking: Pretend that your hair is being pulled up towards the sky. This will help you not to lead with your chin and keep it tucked in.

– Maintain good posture throughout the day. Check out the post: Ideal sitting posture for more information

– Need more tips with posture? Head over to this post: 101 tips to improve your posture.

–  If your still unsure of anything in this article, please feel free to use the contact form to send me a message. I am more than happy to help you out.

 


Although many experience immediate pain relief, do not be discouraged if you do not see immediate results.

It surely hasn’t taken a short time for your Forward Head Posture to develop, so it is going to take some time for it to be corrected.

See how you go with that… And keep that chin tucked in!

Please feel free to leave me a comment below. I am here to help!

 


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About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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118 thoughts on “Forward head posture correction

  1. I have read article after article repeatedly, regarding Forward Head and Neck Postural.Sydrome. However, YOUR website was the MOST informative. I am sitting here in tears. You explained this ‘problem’ to me in full, and I am GRATEFULLY appreciative to your detailed excercises. They have TRULY helped me…and I have tried EVERYthing. The way you explain your excercises-in great detail-is what I needed. Im a 37 y old single mother who works 72 hours s week. Ive had this problem since 2007, which has led me to.such SERIOUS complication. I never write feedbacks on anything, but I felt RELIEF, I am.literally in tears….I just want to TRULY thank you! Your work is GRATEFULLY APPRECIATED! p

  2. Hi mark. Im 66 years old and have bad muscle spasms that turn my neck..im going to try out your neck exercises. Is there anyone u know of in micigan that can help me..i live in macomb cty. Thanks cheryl smith. Im really out of shape and chiropractors ive been going to havent even given me exercises to do…

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Neck pain sucks! I know first hand how it feels! But please do give these exercises a try. Exercises are the best way to help yourself from your neck pain.

      As I live in Australia, I can not recommend (or know) any practitioner in Michigan.

      Let me know how it goes.

  3. Due to a upper back injury I have developed the worst forward neck issues as a way of compensating for pain and I am really at a loss for how to correct it! After reading this, I hope with time. I’ll be able to correct my posture! It’s such a confidence killer at 20 to have poor posture!

  4. I feel akward walking around like I have a pole connected from my neck to my back. Is this mandatory? Is there another way? And do the exercises have to he in order? Im 30 yrs old and been carrying heavy back pack for years. Im self concious.

    1. It is quite normal to feel quite awkward when placing your head in the correct position. This is because your body is used to having it in the incorrect position. Keep persisting with it and will become natural for you.

      You don’t have to do the exercises in order, but I do recommend it.

  5. Dear Mark,
    I am getting severe neck and upper back pain and stiffness since the last 1 year because of forward head posture. At 23 I feel like I am stuck in an old body . Will doing these exercises make the pain completely go away? I am doing the basic chin tuck exercise since a many months and don’t find much change. What is the secret to complete relief?

    1. Hi Sur,

      If your pain is completely due to having a Forward Head Posture, then doing all these exercises will most definitely help.

      If the pain persists, I would suggest something else may be causing your pain.

      That’s why it’s so important to have a look at the posture as a whole.

      Mark

  6. I am a physical therapist assistant but having forward head ,, most likely due to the fact that I’m female 6’2″ and most of the cliental I work with is much shorter so I’m always bending down,,
    I will try the suggestions you mention ,
    Thank you for clear descriptions !
    Wish you were in NYC!
    Patricia

  7. I am a 26 year old athlete (footballer) and 7 weeks ago experienced a bulging disc, as well as either a strain or minor tear in some of the occipital muscles in the back of my head. What is the normal recovery time for this? I still feel pain/slight headache after looking down at the counter 15-20 min straight when cooking a meal, or about 30 min after something vibrational such as walking.
    Also, I was told by my PT to do the #3 Chin Nods, so I have been doing so the past couple weeks, at least 1-2 times a day. Can this cause tightness in the front of the neck? I feel tightness vertically along both side of the throat and beneath chin (somewhat in the proximity of the lymph nodes). Could this be from activating these deep neck flexors?

    1. Hi there,

      You will definitely should feel the muscles at the front of your neck as they activate during chin nods/deep neck flexor exercise.

      However, if you are feeling it excessively in the superficial muscles at the front of your neck (which can give a sensation of tightness), you may be recruiting those muscles instead of the DEEP neck flexors.

      To over come this:
      a) Focus on relaxing the muscles at the front. The exercise should be smooth and gentle.
      b) Reduce the amount of chin nodding so that you can control the amount of tension in your neck.
      c) Try pushing your tongue to the roof of your palate. This can sometimes help recruit the deep neck flexors better.

      Let me know how it goes!

  8. Wow this is great. I’m having an ‘aha’ moment. For years I’ve seen physical therapists, PMTs, pain management doctors and more chiropractors than I can count. Every has told me that my head is forward but not a single person gave me confidence it was fixable, let alone showed me exercises like this to do so. I’m so excited right now as I could be on my way to reducing my pain! Thanks so much for the great post. When you see people really commit to the exercises and fixing this issue, how long does it normally take? I’ve pain at least 15 or more years so I don’t expect miracles overnight but am curious is it weeks, months or years?

    1. Hi Sally,

      I’m very glad that you have found this post and on your way to fixing your symptoms!

      Forward head posture is actually more common than having proper posture now… and that is a scary thing. So you’re definitely not alone in this.

      In terms of how long it will take, it really varies from person to person.

      The general guide line is the longer you’ve had something, the longer it;’s going to take to improve/fix. You should see some positive effects almost immediately.

      Since you have had symptoms for over 15 years, I would recommend taking your time doing these exercises. Don’t force anything as this could aggravate issues.

      Please feel free to get back to me if you are unsure of anything! Here to help.

      Mark

  9. Hi Mark,

    I have just been given your website by a Dr. in Tucson, Az. who is helping me retrain my brain through neuroplasticity training.

    I suffer from CRPS/RSD ( Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy )and fibromyalgia and as a result many muscle groups are completely atrophied. I have really been having a difficult time holding my head up.

    Do you think your exercise program would help me? I appreciate your time and attention to myself and countless others you have responded to and helped!

    Thanking you in advance,
    Bev

    Do you think I could benef

    1. Hey Bev!

      I’ve worked with people with chronic issues rooting from CRPS and Fibromyalgia.

      From my experience:
      The best thing to do is exercise.

      So, to answer your question, Yes! You can most definitely do these exercises.

      However – you need to make sure that they are comfortable, gentle and executed the correct way. You may need to modify some exercises if they cause symptoms to worsen.

      Please get back to me if you would like further help.

      Mark

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Choosing a pillow for a Forward Head Posture can actually be quite tricky.

      Unfortunately, there is no one pillow that fits all.

      You generally want to make sure that the pillow is not too thick as this will push the head forward. Try to maintain correct neck alignment (ear canal approx. in line with shoulder joint).

      On top of that, make sure the pillow is not causing any pain or discomfort.

      Mark

  10. Hello Mark, I have APT which had caused hyperlordosis which in turn has developed into hyperkyphosis and forward head. Do you have any exercises that you could post that deals with the rotation of the hips. I’ve dealt with this pain constantly for almost 5 years. Headaches in the temples, offset hips and shoulders (scoliosis), dizziness, depression.. I’ve never went to a PT as they cost a lot of money that I don’t have.the chiro visits just work for a few days. It all kind of started when I learned to play the guitar, so my body started leaning to the left and the muscles in my lower right hip pulled and twisted in an injury, and they have been stuck that way ever since. Thanks in advance! Sincerely Dallas Smith.

  11. Mark, I had a bad disc problems in my mid thoracic spine that had to be diagnosed by discogram. Prior to the proper diagnosis, I had a fusion of the C6/C7 cervical disc. I have a problem with mine Head and Shoulders going forward. I believe that the exercise shown in your article will help me however I do have one question. Will the fusion in the cervical spine prohibit mean from regaining my head and neck posture? Is this something that would ruin my chances of benefiting from your exercise?

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      If you have had fusion, you will lose the ability to move those fused joints.

      However – the joints above and below can still be improved with these exercises for sure!

      All the best!

      Mark

  12. Thank you very much Mark. I am starting your program today. I actually think this will help relieve thoracic spine pain, also. You provide a big help to some of us who have given up. I hope you have a very successful career. You are a very caring person. Best wishes.

  13. Hi Mark, I fractured and compressed my spine about 14 years ago (L 7,8 & 11) from some improper lifting. At that time it was discovered that I was right on the borderline between osteopenia and osteoporosis as a 51 year old male. Now at 65 I’m seeing the forward head posture increasing each year starting about 7-8 years ago. I also have the rounded shoulders now and am trying to slow this process down and even hopefully reverse some of it. I will be doing these exercises you have shown, but the main question I wanted to ask you is that I enjoy riding a bicycle a lot and going on 15-20 mile rides 2-3 times a week. Is the bent over forward position of my bike riding causing additional issues or it is ok? I’m riding with the older type handlebars down low and below the top of the stem. I don’t usually ride for more than a couple minutes in an hour at that position, but rather usually just have my hand position at the top of the handlebars. I’m explaining this so you know I’m not riding a mountain type bike with (sitting up) posture, but rather an 18 speed road bike. I don’t feel any pain or issues when riding but have often wondered if this was either good or bad for my forward head position when I ride a lot like that in a forward bent over or humped position. Thanks in advance for your reply and for publishing these exercises.

    1. Hi Mike,

      It is fine to continue your cycling. And in fact, I strongly encourage you to keep at it especially if it is something you enjoy.

      You just need to invest more time in doing the exercises to counteract the forward head posture in the cycling posture. It is difficult (if at all possible) to have good posture on a low handle bike.

      My advice would be to just make an effort to avoid jutting your chin forward as you ride.

      Let me know how it goes, mate!

      Mark.

  14. Hi Mark,
    Your website is great. It has all the required information in one single place.
    I am 32 yrs old. I am having neck , shoulder and upper back pain for 3 yrs from computer desk job. MRI says bulging disc and disc compression. I went to so many doctors, tried Ayurveda massage, Acupuncture and few physiotherapists. They couldn’t help much. The exercises I was taught wasn’t complete like you have posted. Your blog gives me new confidence and I am not going to let this pain control my life.
    I am going to do these exercises religiously.
    Can’t thank you enough for your help.
    Great job and God bless 🙂

    1. I wish I was taught about the importance of good posture in my school days when I as young. That would have become a habit as I grew up.

      1. Hi Mark,
        I have been following your advice and doing the exercises for 4 months now. I can see a tremendous improvement.. I am not totally pain free but can see a huge difference and I can’t thank you enough for this 🙂

        Can I be totally pain free by regularly doing all the exercises?? Also I have pain at the base of my skull.. the shoulder blade pain, lower cervical pain has reduced alot but the pain around the base of he skull is a new addition ? Could you please tell me what exercises need to be done for this ?

        1. Hi Laskhmi,

          Great to see that your pain is much better now!

          You most definitely can be completely pain-free, providing that you are addressing the exact cause(s) that are responsible for your pain.

          In regards to your pain at the base of the skull… my guess would be that you may recruiting your Sternocleidomastoid muscle too much (especially when you do Chin Nods).

          When you do the Chin Nods exercises, just make sure you are not tensing your neck muscles excessively. Everything should be fairly gentle. This usually happens when you do the exercise below:

          Perhaps remove this one (for now) and see if it makes a difference.

          Mark

          1. Thank you for the quick reply.. I will follow your advice and let you know how it goes.. the reduce in pain has made a great difference in my everyday life.. my mood is more cheerful and overall I am more happy. Thank you..

  15. Hi Mark,

    I’ve recently developed deep, very focused pain in my left shoulder, a likely result of hours a week cycling, poor posture, and a desk job. I’ve started physical therapy and many of your exercises are on the routine they’ve given me. Question for you: should I be doing all of the exercises on this page twice a day? You say it should take about 15 minutes, but when I add them all up, it’s much more than that. Just wondering how long to be working at this.

    Thanks for such targeted advice and exercises.

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thanks for pointing out that it takes longer than 15 minutes.

      I just recently updated and added more exercises the other day and forgot to change the time frame.

      But to answer your question:

      I think at the beginning to build momentum, try to do all of the exercises mentioned above (as long as it takes).

      As you become more familiar with how your body responds to each exercises, then you can start to focus on certain exercises that give you more benefit (and also eliminate any that may seem to be less effective).

      There are A LOT of exercises and it will definitely take sometime to complete them all. As your posture and pain improves, you will be able to wean down the time spent on the exercises.

      I hope this answers your question. 🙂

      Mark

  16. I am currently in school to become a Registered Massage Therapist. I am in transition from forward head/sway back posture to correct posture. I am so grateful for this website and will be recommending it to my future clients. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    1. Hello Francine,

      Great that you are taking the steps to correct your posture.

      Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with the exercises!

      Mark

  17. I’m in my late 20s and have had forward neck posture for years because I was a competitive swimmer that stopped cold-turkey when I started college. The muscles in my back stopped being used and sitting all day in college classes/studying destroyed my posture.

    Despite not being overweight, standing up straight with my ears aligned with my shoulders causes me to have unsightly double chin. If I persisted in trying these exercises, would this double chin effect get better since the problem is very tight and strained neck muscles? How long would you say that I would need to do these daily before I see some change?

    1. Hi there Elizabeth,

      As your posture (as a whole) improves, the exercise will become easier. As your neck and head regain the proper position in relation to your thoracic spine, the double chin will go away too.

      In terms of how long before you see some change: After a solid week of doing the exercises everyday, you should start to feel that the exercises become easier and less awkward to perform.

      In terms of correcting your forward head posture: That’s going to take some time and differs between individuals. The general rule is that the longer you have had your poor posture, the longer it will take to improve.

      Keep at it! Let me know how it goes.

      Mark

  18. Hi Mark, I have a desk job so Ive developed bad habits sitting at my desk. My bad posture has led to the inability for my jaw to open all the way recently. I have not developed pain in my jaw but my neck and shoulders are experiencing discomfort. Which exercises should I focus more on to help improve the function of my jaw?

  19. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for putting this up. As well as the problems outlined here I also have an inability to lie relaxed on my back with my hands behind my head and elbows out to side. As soon as I relax the elbows out to the sides I get sharp pain through the fronts of my brachium (between my arm pits and elbows). Any thoughts?
    Cheers again
    Ben, Brisbane.

  20. This is such a great resource! I am a 32 year old and have a forward head posture, as a result of years of slouching while teaching small kids; also I was a painfully shy girl for my first 18 years and as a result often slouched to keep from being noticed. I have also developed a slight neck bump. I have no pain or discomfort, but would like to get this taken care of. Is this correctable with the stretches you have outlined? Any other tips? Should I see a chiropractor?

  21. Thank you so much! I have been struggling with neck pain and migraines for 10 years and I can tell I am getting a little bit of relief by doing this program. I am super hopeful that this will actually fix the rest of the problem. Thank you for putting together such a detailed program!

  22. Hey
    Well I’ve been having forward head posture for years cuz i had back problems. Now that the problem with my back is kinda better after wearing something to make it better the head posture is a bit better then before. But still i look bad and i don’t like it. All of exercises i have to do? And how minutes for each? And how times a day to do them? And please how long will take until i have a normal head posture? It makes me feel ugly , i want to have it normal as soon as possible. Thank you

    1. Hi Julinda,

      I would do all of the exercises 1/day to begin with.

      As you become more familiar with your body and its reaction to the exercises, you can start to focus on the exercise which you find most beneficial.

      In regards to how long will it take to get normal head posture… it really depends on how long you’ve had your issue. The general rule is that the longer you have had your bad posture, the longer it will take to fix.

      Neck exercises are your best solution to correcting your forward head posture.

      Mark

  23. Hey Mark thanks for your content.

    My question regards about the strenghtening of mid and lower trapezius to correct bad posture.
    Its not that necessary, although it may help?

    obs:
    E.g. exercises: facepulls, straight arm dips, support holds.

    Thanks,

    Caue

    1. Hey Caue,

      Those exercises are great for the mid/lower trap muscles!

      Just need to make sure you can support your full body weight in your arms for a prolonged amount of time.

      Mark

  24. Hey mark
    I came to this site after i started to find any position i was in were my head was leaning forward would create a number of symptoms. A chiropractor i saw a year ago told me i had scoliosis and scheuermann’s disease which was creating pain and pressure between my upper thoraic joints. He did not give excersise and the adjusting was helping to much. In the last few months i have found i have dizziness and have fainted a few times whilst in a prolonged sitting position. I also getting shooting pain down my arms and tingling down my legs usually while sitting. If i lean my head forward i get a vibrating feeling through my back and chest. A mri showed a small protusion between my c5 and c6 joints which doesnt really explain any of my symptoms since its only mild. Im going to try your excersise and i hope they help a bit 🙂 i found when i do tuck my chin in the symptoms go away pretty quick.

  25. Mark,
    I have fwd. head issues, I’m getting numbness in bil. hands, thumb, index finger, second finger & ring finger. Will these exs. help release the nerve impingement?

    1. Hi Jeep,

      Sounds like you have a bit of nerve irritation.

      The main thing for you is to determine where exactly the nerve is getting irritated.

      I would focus on doing the chin tuck exercises. This will help make more room at the opening where the nerve comes out of your neck.

      However, I would encourage you to get a neck scan to rule out anything sinister.

      Mark

  26. Hi mark,
    I’ve been struggling with my back posture for some time now I feel as if my back is forming S shape the lower back goes right in and my upper back hunches had can you help me please.

  27. Will this work?im a 13 year old who have been experiencing this for 3 years and i get anterior pelvis tilt wheni try to get a good poature pls help me out..

  28. Hi Mark !
    while doing the neck mobility exercise , i feel great pressure on my neck vertebraes as if i move my head backward a little more , i feel like it may break !!! is that normal and should i continue doing this exercise? thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Bob,

      You are probably moving your head backwards a bit too much. (This should improve as your forward head posture improves). When you move your head back too far when you have a pronounced forward head posture, the joints in your neck can jam together.

      I suggest to continue to do the mobility exercise, but don’t force it back too far.

      Do what is comfortable. Go as far as your body will comfortably allow you. It takes time for the body to get used to these exercises.

      Mark

  29. Dude, thank you so much! At 23 now, I’ve been dealing with upper back/neck pain for about 5 years now. It often got so bad that it’d leave me nauseous and with headaches. It really frustrates me that after all these years, the doctors, including my pain management docs, couldn’t just look at me and tell me my posture was as bad as it is. I started pulling my neck back and it was like a blood rush to my brain! Like my head was so far forward all the time, that it wasn’t getting proper blood flow or something. I kept it in that position and the pain in my neck and shoulder went away completely! Something even codeine couldn’t do. I’ll start being more conscious of my posture and doing these exercises everyday. Thanks man! 🙂

  30. Hi Mark I got bad forward head posture and rounded shoulders it started with pain in my neck and mid back between my shoulders my muscles just tense up extremely tight now its moving to my shoulders and chest area there starting to tighten up I have trouble holding my right arm straight out and above my head and if I move my head quickly I get a little dizzy I have had an mri on my upper back and neck showing nothing any tips or exercises I can do to stop this from spiraling to the rest of my body

    1. Hey Kevin,

      Many of the muscles in your shoulder and neck are shared. Tightness in these areas not only can cause your dizziness, but can make it hard for you to use your arm.

      I think the first step would be to release all the muscles in your neck ( the same ones mentioned in this post) and see if that makes any difference.

      On top of that, avoid any movements or activities that may be exacerbating your symptoms.

      Mark

  31. Hey Mark, when do you the test as to whether you have forward head posture or not. Are your feet against the baseboard of the floor as well?

  32. Hey Mark,

    When you do the test against the wall to see if you have forward head posture correction. Are your feet against the wall too or are they slightly in front of the wall? I know you place your back towards a wall with your bottom, lower back and shoulder blades completely flat against the wall.

  33. Hi Mark, i have been doing these excercises but one of my neck muscles at the back of my neck spine is now protruding. Is that from straining too hard doing the chin tucks. Not sure how to release it as when i look down it bulges out.

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Thanks for the comment and your email.

      Can you tell me where exactly you feel the neck muscles protruding? And which exercise in particular you think has caused it?

      Happy to talk to you here, or in email.

      Hope to hear from you soon 🙂

      Mark

  34. Hi Mark, Ive just seen your interesting post after searching for self help for a back of neck hump. I’m not overweight but I’m really conscious of this neck hump which I’m sure has been caused by bad posture. Would these exercises help?

    1. Hey Sue,

      If your neck hump has been caused by your bad posture (in particular a forward head posture), then these exercise will definitely help you.

      Please let me know if you need any extra help with them.

      Mark

  35. Thanks for great tips about this. Can you tell me how long it would take me to get my head into natural position if I do this exercises daily?From your experience with patients (two fingers protruding from wall)

    1. Hey John,

      If your forward head posture is purely due to neck tightness/weakness, it actually shouldn’t take too long to see improvements. I’ve seen patients have improved head posture after 1 session! … On the other hand, I have seen others that can take months.

      If it is taking a long time: it may be that you have another postural issue that is causing your forward head posture (like Rounded shoulders, Hunchback posture).

      Mark

  36. Hi Mark! So pleased I’ve found you! I have had SPD with three pregnancies which has resulted in my pelvis tipping – I think this has affected my posture a lot as I lean to the right (sound out when I went for a lung x-ray and they kept having to push me upright!) this is also affected my head, I know I have forward head posture which has resulted in dowegers hump, I’m very self conscious. Is there any hope? I find certain exercises, although they don’t hurt my neck clicks with each move. I’ll keep persevering in the hope I can regain posture and confidence. Thank you.

    1. Hey Fran!

      It’s all about perseverance and consistency when it comes to fixing this problem.

      I always say: Small baby steps each time in the right direction!

      Clicking is a sign that you are probably moving stiff joints. That is a good thing! (just make sure it isn’t making any of your symptoms worse!~)

      Mark

  37. HI there I was wondering how long I should do these exercises for for me to see an improvement..do you think 1 month time is good?…i am 25 years old.

    1. Hi Shifa,

      You should be able to see/feel some difference (even if it is a small amount) almost straight away.

      However – it can take some time for your newly adopted head position to become natural for you.

      Mark

  38. Greetings from Brazil, and a huge, huge thank you.
    To tell you the truth, In the beginning, I was a little skeptical, it just seemed too good to be truth… I was expecting very little improvement, but as I was going for anything to avoid surgeries I tried these exercises out some weeks ago, and today I have literally no pain at all. It just feels like I was given a a brand new neck.
    But I got a question: I have a sort of boney lump right at the base of my neck that I thought wouldn’t go away anymore, however, I don’t know how, with these exercises it is getting smaller and smaller… My question is: Can I continue doing theses exercises even without pain , just to see If I can get rid of this lump?

    1. Hi Pedro!

      Awesome to see that you have no more neck pain after doing these exercises.

      To answer your question – I would definitely continue to do these exercises even if you have no neck pain.

      I do them at least 2/week myself 🙂

      Also – it sounds like you have what we call a Dowager’s Hump (very common in Forward head postures). Click here for more info.

      Mark

  39. hi Mark..im a counselor and once i move downward my head or looking to my computer i feel like sudden weakness and dizzines..im worried about that..

    1. Hi,

      Weakness and dizziness may suggests more sinister issues.

      Before you do any exercises, I would recommend getting a scan first to make sure that it is nothing serious.

      Mark

  40. Mark
    I am a 63 year old male who has suffered with Forward Head Posture for years. When I stand up against a wall as you demonstrated, my head is about 4 to 5 inches away from the wall. Is that severe? Given how long I’ve had FHP, is it possible to get my posture to a normal level with these exercises? Also can I develop Dowager’s hump by doing these exercises?

    1. Hello Robert,

      5 Inches of Forward Head posture (FHP) is quite a bit… *But it’s actually quite common!

      Generally speaking, due to the longevity and severity of your FHP, you might not be able to correct it a complete 100%. (and that’s OK)

      When addressing your posture, it’s always about aiming for progression and not perfection.

      In regards to the Dowager’s Hump, these exercises will actually help fix your Dowager’s Hump.

      Check out this post here if you want more info on exercises for Dowager’s Hump.

      Mark

  41. Pingback: Do you know how to support your baby´s head correctly? - LIMETREE.FAMILY
  42. Hi.
    I have pain on my shoulders and back of my neck. This started several weeks ago, seemingly suddenly. The only difference is I’ve been doing more computer work for longer periods of time. My posture is terrible. So I was thankful when muy employer emailed a self- care message with your website included.
    I’ve started doing the stretches you suggest because I do, in fact have forward head posture. I would like to fix this.
    I have a couple concerns. One is that I’ve noticed since the pain started, my shoulders hurt all night while I am on bed. I’ve been sleeping with little to no pillow. I sleep on my back most of the night because I have sleep apnea and I use a CPAP.
    The other concern is that during the day, when I’m up and around and not working on my computer, my shoulders and neck do not hurt a much, but if I’m holding an object and, for example pouring liquid into a cup, it feels like I’m going to lose my grip and drop the object when I move a certain way.
    I have changed my work space on order to sit properly. The field I am in has a high risk for repetitive stress injury and I’m getting up there on age and don’t want to become a statistic.
    Any thoughts will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Melani,

      It sounds like you are placing your body in a position where it is not used to.

      The main thing I would recommend is try to not stay in the one static position for too long. Get up, go for a walk, go toilet etc to break up the prolonged sitting.

      If you are not able to get out of your chair, try doing shoulder rolls every 15-20 minutes.


      30 Reps.

      The trick is do this exercise as regular as you can to prevent the pain from starting. Once the pain starts at work, it is often difficult to stop it in the short term.

      In the long term, you will need to try to fix your posture. (this whole website is dedicated to help you with that 🙂 )

      1. Thank you.
        I’ve setup my work station so that I am in the correct posture. My pain seems to be getting worse as the days go by, especially when I am sleeping. I wake up to excruciating pain in my shoulders. I’ve been sleeping with a roll under my neck that a chiropractor told me to use.

      2. Hi again Mark,

        Thank you SO much for your quick response to my question.

        I have another question. When starting to correct posture, is it common to start hurting in other places?

        1. Hi again,

          Yes – other areas can start to hurt as you may be using muscles that you haven’t really used before.

          (Just make sure you are performing the exercises correctly. If you do them wrongly, that could also make things worse :O)

          Mark

  43. Hi, for #1 you mentioned a particular muscle underneath the base of the skull that will be tight and needs to be stretched. What is this muscle called and why is it exactly tight again if one has FHP?

    1. Here is a picture of the muscles in the Sub-occipital region:

      Together – they cause Hyperextension of the upper neck joints when they are tight. This is seen in the Forward head posture.

      Mark

    1. Hey Haikal,

      You sure can!

      Just make sure you keep that chin slightly tucked in and the back of the neck elongated towards the sky. Keep it RELAXED.

      (And don’t run with your chin leading in front of you. This is very common!)

      Mark

  44. Hi Mark,
    Your website is great for posture information. Learnt quite a lot of things. Two questions…
    1) Can posture problems be corrected permanently with exercise, or effect remains only until you do exercise rigorously.
    2) When you say in exercise b to stretch

    Instructions:

    With your hands at the back of your head, pull your head down.
    Aim to feel the stretch at the back of your neck.
    Hold for a minimum for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

    If the head is already leaning forward, I want to know how this exercise helps, will it not pull it more. I am sure not, but how it works from bio-mechanics standpoint.

    Thanks,
    John

    1. Hi John,

      You will need to continue to do the exercises until your body is “neurologically wired” to hold good posture. I liken it to getting rid of a bad habit. It takes time. Consistency. And strategies to prevent yourself from going back to your bad posture.

      In regards to the stretch, the aim is to stretch the back portion of your neck. These muscles are very active in a Forward Head posture.

      The stretch is performed in a motion where the chin goes towards the chest, whereas, in a forward head position, the chin is goes away from the chest (… or pokes forward).

      If you were to do the stretch where the chin goes away from the chest (poking forward), then this would make the head posture worse.

      Hope this makes sense! If not, let me know 🙂

      Mark

  45. Mark,
    I have swayback – diagnosed by an X-ray. The most comfortable position for me to work on my laptop is sitting on the floor on a very dense foam pad leaning against a large foam triangle that is against the wall. My legs are straight out with my heels “falling” off the edge of the foam pad. Is it bad for me to do work in this position? Sid

    1. Hey Sid,

      I wouldn’t recommend sitting in this position for a prolonged amount of time. (Especially if you have tight Hamstring muscles)

      If your laptop is sitting on your lap in this position (… which I guess is what they were designed for), it will encourage your posture to slouch forward.

      Sounds like you need to strengthen your mid section of your body. Can you do any planks?

      Mark

      1. Thank you so much for answering! Yes. I can do planks and I will! I love my window seat, but it does appear that it encourages my slouching. Should I be sitting up in a chair instead of leaning back like that ? What about watching TV? Recliners are bad for me?

        1. Hi Sid,

          Try to find a supportive ergonomic work chair. It is much better than sitting on the floor.

          Recliners are fine, just make sure your head is relaxed back and not poking forward.

          Mark

  46. Hi Mark!
    First of all Thank you so much to make this website! you had no idea how long I search something like this website on google and yea I almost given up. At first I open your website/blog I thought this detailed website at the end of sentences will sell something(book, pill, etc.) but you dont and I’m kinda wondering what is your motivation to make this website? and yeah been doing this exercise for the past 5 days and at the first day it’s hurt so much to do this but the next day it’s become easier. sorry for the long story :p
    and Mark here’s the question, hope you dont bother I ask a lot of question cause I’m really eager to fix my posture:
    Can I do Push up, Sit up or any other excercise and what simple exercise Should I do and don’t?
    Thank you Mark and I hope you all the best in career and your life. and Happy New Year Mark!
    P.S. Sorry for grammar mistake I’m still learning

    Haikal

    1. Hey Haikal,

      My inspiration for posting these blog articles was to originally help my own patients at the clinic. As I usually talk very fast and need to say a lot in a session, I find that having something to read afterwards helps out heaps.

      In regards to what other exercises you can do… you can do pretty much do anything that doesn’t cause your neck pain/posture to get worse.

      If it hurts – change the way you do the exercise, If it still hurts, then probably best to try a different exercise.

      Mark

  47. Hi Mark

    Your site is very helpful and I was hoping to ask a few additional questions regarding the appropriateness of the neck exercises you described for my particular neck issue. I have never had neck or back pain until the past year after having a baby. In early December I awoke with an intense pain in my lower neck that has not gone away and seems to at times be getting worse (can feel effects in my arms and back at times so I think there might be a nerve issue). I think the problem originated from assuming a hunched position while nursing and tending to look down at my baby when in this position. It seems that it may have been further aggravated by a couple of instances during which I fell asleep when nursing and woke up with my head hanging forward and my chin close to my chest. I know the exercises you described are intended for people who are sedentary for most of the day and/or spend a lot of time on computers or other devices. I wanted to get your opinion as to whether the exercises might be beneficial for me or whether you think I might have caused more serious damage than these exercises could remedy.

    1. Hello Lori,

      These exercises will most definitely help you out.

      I would just be a bit careful if you suspect you have a nerve problem.

      Do you have a Dowager’s hump? Check it out here.

      Mark

  48. Hello Mark, I’ve recently been trying to correct my horrible forward head posture, and came across this website.

    I’m a 16 year old 6’2″male and I believe that my forward head/rolled shoulders are caused by the horrible way I had always sat in front of my computer.

    If I stand comfortably, my shoulders are hunched over my body and my head pokes out like a turtle. I’ve been doing these excercizes for a few days now and have been working on keeping correct posture throughout the whole day.

    If I continue to do this, should my neck point more in a vertical direction rather than angled out from my body as it is now? I’m worried that after working on it for a while, I will be able to hold good posture, but it will look awkward and forced like it does when I try now.

    I’m trying everything I can to fix my problems and would love it if you could help me out some more.

    Thanks
    Lucas

    1. Hi Lucas,

      Your body has learnt the wrong way to hold up your posture. This is your default position.

      It feels awkward and forced as you are fighting against your wrongly learnt default position.

      To fix this:
      – Strengthen the weak muscles
      – Stretch the tight muscles
      – Train your neuromuscular system to automatically hold good posture (this is all about practice)

      Once these are addressed, good posture will become natural for you.

      It has taken a long time for you to develop your posture, so it is going to take time to fix it.

      Hope this helps!

      Mark

  49. Hi there thanks for this informative piece I will definitely try it out. I know you talked about sleeping position in your article I was wondering if you could further elaborate on that, as when i wake up from sleeping i find i am already in a flex hunched forward neck posture. What do you recommend in terms of pillow and sleeping positions to avoid this? As every time i wake up i am tense and sore and in that posture.

    1. Hi Al,

      If you are sleeping on your back, you need to make sure that your pillow is not too high. This will push your neck forward and hunched.

      Make sure the curve of your neck is supported and neutral head is maintained.

      If you are on your side, try to have your top arm supported by hugging a thick pillow. If your top arm falls forward, this will bring your shoulders and neck forward with it as well.

      Mark

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