Forward head posture is one of the most common and unsightly structural patterns becoming ubiquitous in modern culture. This pattern, if left unchecked, will reform your body to a state of collapse, chronic stress and with time, the dreaded Dowager’s hump may show it’s face. We can do better and the solution is with you right now!
Forward Head Posture or Upper Cross Syndrome has a specific recipe of chronically shortened and reciprocally elongated muscles. The gist of this unsightly recipe of muscular imbalance comes out a bit like a cross, hence the name. Without naming all the muscles that are chronically shortened and lengthened, you can just assume the muscles of the chest/front of the shoulders and posterior neck are short. The posterior side of the shoulder girdle and flexor muscles along the front of the neck are generally stuck in a lengthened position and are struggling to remember how to engage correctly.
Let’s start course correcting now instead of waiting until it’s too late…
Here’s a basic protocol anyone can follow to unwind this unattractive and unsustainable pattern
Shoulder Mobility and Integration
Thoracic Spine Mobility
Straight Arm Lat Pull Over
Hand and Shoulder Mobility
Practice each of the above techniques daily for 30 days and enjoy the feeling of your head and shoulders migrating back on top of your body!
First of all, Dowager kindly translates to ‘dignified elderly woman’. Great news, we can be dignified and have a healthy upright spine!
Our cervical spine is subject to large amounts of stress as the head drifts forward in front of our lower bodies. For every inch the head drifts forward, it’s approximately an added 10 lbs of weight for our hardworking neck and shoulder girdles to carry. Chronic forward head posture creates a traffic jam of sorts around your lower cervical vertebrae and your body lays down protective fibers in order to stabilize (and immobilize) the area for your own protection. With time, you will notice the self-inflicted cast start to build outward until, voila, Dowager’s hump. Thanks to Erik Dalton for the above image, tune into our podcast together on Episode 61!
Side note: Dowager’s hump is not be confused with Cushing’s disease, ‘a condition causing an excess of the steroid hormone cortisol in the blood level caused by a pituitary tumor secreting adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH is a hormone produced by the normal pituitary gland. ACTH stimulates the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys) to produce cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone.’
Excessive cortisol can create the hallmarks signs of Cushing’s disease, such as a fatty hump between the shoulders less fondly referred to a ‘buffalo hump’