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Correct Neck Posture: the importance of head and neck position.

Correct neck posture is an often overlooked but essential aspect of maintaining good posture.

Correct neck position when sitting at workstation

Correct neck posture is an often overlooked but essential aspect of maintaining good posture. The position of your head and neck can significantly impact the alignment of your spine and pelvis and the overall balance of your body. 

When your head and neck are in alignment, your muscles can work more efficiently, which reduces strain on your joints and helps prevent pain.

Your posture is how you hold your body upright against gravity.

A sign of good posture is when your body is trained to stand, sit, lay down, and move in ways that put the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments when you’re moving or bearing weight.

Maintaining good posture helps you to:

 
 

Your head and neck position can affect your posture.

Your head and neck position plays a significant role in your overall posture. For example, if your head is constantly tilted forward or to the side, it can pull your shoulders and back out of alignment, causing you to slouch.

Likewise, if you spend a lot of time looking down at your phone or computer screen, it can strain the muscles and ligaments in your neck, shoulders, and back, leading to poor posture.

The notion of good posture requires the balanced and aligned relationships of five distinct landmarks:

  • Ear
  • Shoulder
  • Hip Joint
  • Knee
  • Ankle

Position indicates the alignment - what is the correct neck position?

Good posture is essential for overall health and well-being. By improving your head and neck position, you can help improve your posture and reduce pain.

Neck position when deadlifting

The neutral position of the head on the neck is when your ears are in line with your shoulders. When your head is in this position, it places the least strain on your muscles and ligaments.

The neck must be equally distant from both the body’s sides and the front and rear. A vertically stacked body can only be created by a vertical cervical spine. It will provide comfort, minimizing any neck or shoulder-related problems.

By finding a balance between these landmarks and a plumb (straight) line, you are actively working toward symmetry and, more importantly, allowing the body to work with gravity. More importantly, any movement away from the balance between these points (landmarks) at any one or more junctions will lead to imbalance and dis-ease.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your head and neck position to help improve your posture:

  1. Keep your chin level with your horizon. This will help keep your head from tilting forward or to the side.
  2. Don’t look down at your phone or computer screen for long periods. Instead, take breaks often to give your neck and back a break from the strain.
  3. Sit up tall with your shoulders back and down. This will help keep your spine in alignment and prevent slouching.
  4. Strengthen your back and neck muscles with exercises like rows, chin-ups, and shoulder shrugs. This will help support good posture and prevent pain.
  5. Stretch your chest and front of your shoulders with stretches like doorway chest stretches, and overhead arm stretches. This will help reduce tightness in the muscles that can pull your shoulders and head forward.

Good posture is essential for overall health and well-being. By improving your head and neck position, you can help improve your posture and reduce pain.

Key Four Muscles in head movement.

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

Four important superficial muscles that move the head are:

  1. Sternocleidomastoid muscle – This muscle runs from the Sternum and Clavicle to the base of the skull and is responsible for turning the head.
  2. Trapezius – This muscle runs from the base of the skull to the middle of the back. It is responsible for, among other things shrugging the shoulders.
  3. Levator scapulae – This muscle runs from the neck to the shoulder blade and is responsible for lifting the shoulder blade.
  4. Splenius muscles- These muscles run from the base of the skull to the middle of the back and are responsible for extending and rotating the head.
Splenius and Levator Scapula Muscles

These muscles allow you to move your head in different directions, such as nodding, shaking, and turning. By keeping these muscles strong and flexible, you can help reduce the strain on your neck and improve your posture.

However, these muscles mustn’t be allowed to take over all activity. The intrinsic (smaller muscles closer to the spine) are essential in maintaining healthy movement and stability of the neck.

When problems arise in the head, neck, and shoulders, these muscles can often play ‘second fiddle’ to the neck’s more significant and grosser moving superficial muscles.

Support dictates functionality

The overarching truth is that the level of support from below impacts structures above. This can be clearly seen when considering the head and neck. A balanced and stable neck is relative to the stability and health of the shoulder girdle. For example, the shoulder blades must be able to move freely on the rib cage.

Your head should sit directly on top of your shoulders (think about a string running from the top of your head, through the center of your body and down to the ground). Suppose your head is positioned even slightly forward. In that case, the weight of your head (averaging 10-12lbs) pulls on the muscles and ligaments in your neck and back, causing pain and tension. When these muscles and ligaments become overloaded and tight, it can lead to poor posture.

Additionally, when the arm and shoulder are restricted function of the head and neck can be compromised. This can lead to increased likelihood of neck pain.

Neck Pain: Forward head posture and text neck

Text Neck and impact the cervical spine

One of the most common posture-related problems is forward head posture, leading to a condition called text neck.

Forward head posture occurs when your head is positioned too far forward on your shoulders. This puts extra strain on the muscles and ligaments in your neck and back and can cause pain and tension.

Text neck is a condition that arises from spending too much time looking down at your phone or computer screen. This can cause the muscles and ligaments in your neck to become overloaded and tight, leading to poor posture and pain.

Understanding how to sit at your workstation can assist you in improving forward head posture.

The human body is designed to move.

It's important to be aware of neck position in exercise

When movement is limited, so is the range of motion in the joints. When the range of motion is limited, so is the ability to maintain a healthy posture. A sedentary lifestyle can result in shortened muscles, which pull on the bones and joints, leading to poor posture.

The good news is that it’s never too late to improve your posture. By strengthening the muscles in your back and shoulders and stretching the muscles in your chest, you can help pull your shoulders back and stand taller. 

Additionally, improving your flexibility can help reduce the strain on your muscles and joints, making it easier to maintain good posture.

8 tips to help improve your posture:

Many factors contribute to poor posture, but you can also do many things to correct neck posture. By following the tips above, you can help improve your posture, reduce pain, and increase your confidence.

Stand up straight.

Imagine a string running from the top of your head to the ceiling when you stand, pulling you upward. Keep your shoulders down and back, and tuck your stomach in. Try not to arch your back or lock your knees. If you have to stand for long periods, shift your weight from one foot to the other, and move around as much as possible.

Sit up straight.

Keep your back straight and your shoulders down and back when you sit. Your hips should be higher than your knees, and your feet flat on the floor. If you can, avoid sitting in the same position for long periods. Instead, get up and move around every 20 minutes or so.

Use proper lifting techniques.

Keep your back straight and bend your knees, not your waist, when lifting something heavy. Use your leg muscles to lift the object, and keep it close to your body. Avoid twisting your body while lifting.

Sleep on your side or on your back.

Sleeping on your stomach can cause your spine to arch, leading to poor posture during the day. Sleeping on your back or side will help keep your spine in alignment. Use a pillow that supports your neck and head and one that is comfortable.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Wearing high heels or tight shoes can cause your posture to suffer. Instead, choose shoes that offer support and are comfortable to wear.

Use good posture when working at a desk or computer.

Sit up straight with your shoulders down and back. Keep your elbows close to your body and your wrists in line with your forearms. Position your computer screen, so you don’t have to strain your neck to see it. Take breaks often to move around and stretch.

Do not slouch when walking or standing.

Stand up straight with your shoulders down and back. Keep your chin up, and look straight ahead. Take strides longer than normal, and swing your arms as you walk.

Practice good posture when engaging in physical activity.

When playing sports or working out, maintain good posture to avoid injury. Wear supportive shoes, and warm up before you start. Pay attention to your form, and focus on keeping your back straight and your shoulders down and back. Cool down after your activity, and stretch to help improve your flexibility.

Good posture is essential for overall health and well-being. By following these tips, you can help improve your posture and reduce the risk of pain or injury.

Finally

The human body is designed to move. When movement is limited, so is the range of motion in the joints. When the range of motion is limited, so is the ability to maintain a healthy posture. A sedentary lifestyle can result in shortened muscles, which pull on the bones and joints, leading to poor posture.

However, the good news is that it is never too late to correct neck posture. Even small changes can make a big difference. By strengthening the muscles in your back and shoulders and stretching the muscles in your chest, you can help pull your shoulders back and stand taller.

Additionally, improving your flexibility can help reduce the strain on your muscles and joints, making it easier to maintain correct neck posture. As with all things related to your health, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor or other recognized health care professional.

PLEASE NOTE

PostureGeek.com does not provide medical advice. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical attention. The information provided should not replace the advice and expertise of an accredited health care provider. Any inquiry into your care and any potential impact on your health and wellbeing should be directed to your health care provider. All information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care or treatment.