Just being aware of the proper neck & shoulder posture is the beginning of correcting the problem. With so many people hunched over computers and work stations these days, developing a forward leaning head posture is becoming more and more common. Today’s “Age of the Internet” persuades everyone of all ages, especially our youth to spend what most would consider “way too much time” with eyes glued to the computer or smartphone device. More often than not, the head is kept in a prolonged position with the neck bent and leaning forward. The problem is worsened when a person stands up, but instead of pulling their shoulders back and standing tall, they round them and allow the head to lean forward.
One way to check yourself is to stand against a wall and have someone look at you from the side. If you are in complete alignment, they would be able to see an imaginary line through the center of the shoulder and up to the head. The line should land through the middle of the ear. (see photo for illustration)
An excellent way to help correct poor neck posture is the use of retraction & nodding neck exercises. These types of exercises are designed to help gain control over postural neck muscles which have become weak and fatigued over time. There are many methods in addition to these varying from lifting weights, muscle therapy, vibrational traction, manipulations, and postural re-education. The list is almost endless of simple home based measures to state of the art appliances & tools. Any help in the right direction is beneficial.
One great exercise starts with moving the head backwards to a position over the shoulders, then nodding up and down (with the head as far back on the shoulders as possible). This nodding action affects the deep flexor muscles and can bring on an immediate pain reduction response. Impaired muscle function has been shown to be a feature in painful neck disorders and exercises to retrain performance of the muscles can be effective in long term pain relief.
A variation of this same technique is to place your finger on the front of your chin. Next, draw your chin backwards (away from your finger). Proceed with this motion and go back and forth without dropping your head or looking down. Repeat the motion several times. This can be done every 30 minutes or so when sitting for extended periods of time.
Recovery from an injury like whiplash or headache prevention requires more than a symptomatic approach. There are many different exercises that can be prescribed. Dr. Steiner can help identify the best ones for your particular situation.