Tips to Reduce Neck Pain arising from Forward Head Posture
In today's fast-paced digital world, many of us find ourselves spending countless hours hunched over our smartphones, tablets, and computers. This modern-day habit, while convenient, often leads to a common postural issue known as forward head posture. For executive mums, who juggle the demands of work and family, this can be particularly problematic, as it contributes to neck pain and discomfort. In this blog, we will explore practical solutions for managing forward head posture and reducing neck pain, empowering you to prioritise your well-being amidst your busy life.
Forward head posture occurs when the head protrudes forward from its natural position, creating misalignment with the rest of the body. Prolonged periods of sitting, poor ergonomics, and excessive screen time are common culprits behind this postural issue. Executive mums, who often spend extended hours at their desks or on their phones, may unknowingly exacerbate forward head posture, leading to muscle strain and tension in the neck and upper back. 
Watch this video to learn more on can using your mobile phone cause Neck Pain and the short and long term implications of this kind of neck pain. 
There are several practical solutions that can be incorporated into your daily routine to correct forward head posture and thus reduce neck pain. These include:
Chin nods: This is a simple postural correction exercise to strengthen the core (deep) muscles of your neck and reduce forward head posture. Look at a point ahead of you and then bring your gaze down by 5 to 10 degrees. You can put a finger on your chin to guide this movement but this is optional. Be mindful not to push your chin back with a jerk as this produces a grinding movement between the vertebra as opposed to a gentle chin nod that produces a gentle shift of one vertebra over the other. The grinding movement can lead to degeneration and increase in neck pain in the long run. 
This same chin nod is applicable to correcting your neck posture throughout the day and also when looking at a phone or your laptop screen. Make sure the top of the phone or laptop screen is 5 to 10 degrees below the horizontal gaze of your eyes. (as shown in the picture below): 
Avoid prolonged static posture: Postures such as sitting or standing that are held for long hours without moving can lead to increase in the forward head posture, thus leading to increased neck pain. Try and move every 15 to 20 minutes when you are sitting in a static posture. This could be in the form of simple neck stretches, discussed below. 
Neck stretches:
Perform gentle neck stretches to relieve tension and improve flexibility. Example: Tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder, and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Gently rotate your head from side to side to release tightness in the neck muscles. You can find some simple desk based exercises that can be done under 2 to 3 minutes HERE
Mindful awareness: Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Avoid slouching or poking your neck forward (forward head posture) while working. Instead, make a conscious effort to sit up straight, keeping your neck aligned with your spine. You can consider using a simple sticky note on your workstation or setting up alerts on your phone to remind you to check your posture regularly. 
Sleeping posture: Use a pillow that can help to keep your spine in neutral alignment. If your pillow is too high when sleeping on your back or if you sleep with your head propped up against the armrest of a sofa your head lies in a flexed or bent forwards. This further enhances forward head posture. If you are still not sure about which pillow to use, HERE is the pillow that I use and recommend. 
HERE is a free guide for you to avoid neck pain while working from home. It has simple tips and modifications that can help avoid neck pain while working from your home or your office.

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