Me and my Forward Head


 happy sternocleidomastoid muscle   unhappy sternocleidomastoid muscle with forward head  my forward head bedevils me   the sub occipital muscles are often responsible for forward head posture

My forward head drives me crazy. It stubbornly refuses to go backwards and stay there.

After giving a talk about the psoas muscle at my local library this past weekend someone in attendance came up to me and told me he could fix my head if I was interested.  This followed an hour and a half of me talking to people about how they needed to change their posture so to say I was a little taken a back is an understatement.

The problem of course is that he is right about my forward head and I forced myself to listen and act politely as he began to manipulate my cranium and neck to get it into the right position.

My forward head has been one of the main issues in a long line of body issues I have worked on. About eight years ago I went through the Rolfing series with Brooke Thomas and this was a life changing experience for me.

I have been going to rock concerts since I was a wee lad and my standard routine had always been to make it through the first couple of songs before I began to feel a familiar ache at the base of my skull as the space between my head and neck began to throb. The next thing to happen was my elbows went wide out to the side and my thumbs began to dig into the ridiculously tight head and neck muscles that drove me batty.

And then my friends and people around me would complain about my elbows being in their way. A number of months after I was Rolfed I was at a concert and noticed that my familiar ache was not readily apparent.

One of the things I tell people about my CoreWalking Program is that it succeeds in the negative which is a nonsensical statement. The idea is that there will never be a—eureka! moment when all aches and pains disappear. But six months down the line you might be walking around and notice, “Hey, that ankle pain that has bedeviled me for three years is no longer there”.

My forward head is very attached to me (a little yoga comedy) and doesn’t want to go away.  I know it is there because when I make videos for the blog the position of my head, neck and chin is about all I can focus on. The picture of me at the top is from a video I will posting in the next day or two about Tree Pose. It is consternating to say the least.

If I pay attention when I am in yoga class, which isn’t a given, I will always notice that my head is slightly forward of my spine. There is movement available for me to properly align it but very pigheadedly does not want to stay in place.

This imbalance concerns my sub occipital muscles as well as my sternocleidomastoid muscles and while so much else has changed in my body as I have improved my posture and walking patterns, they cling to the old me and don’t want to shift into a new reality.

I am patient and can probably work on it a little harder. When I drive I try to always remember to keep my head back and long on the headrest, and when I type— like now— I work to make sure that my head rests above my shoulders and spine.

But it is a lifelong effort and might well take another five years, if I ever get it right. That is a hard pill to swallow but I can’t and won’t give up.

 

Tree Pose as an Indicator of Your Posture
Rhomboid Muscles, a Tucked Pelvis and the Psoas
6 Comments
  1. When my ballet students present with a forward head (common), the most effective cue I can give is to lengthen the front of the hip and move the pelvis forward (without tucking!), so that the head can move backward a bit and weight will stay balanced. It’s a positive move that encourages the psoas to be in a more efficient position, stabilizes the spine without tension, and allows a more correct head position without engaging specific neck muscles, etc. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to remember to make the adjustment.

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