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Weekend Challenge: Advanced Forward Head Posture Corrector

weekend-challenge

You’re most likely aware that Forward Head Posture, or FHP, is a growing problem in modern society.

FHP is associated with the Dowager’s Hump (kyphosis), an unsightly and unhealthy condition where the upper spine curves forward, creating a hunchbacked appearance.

And as the head continues to dip forward and downward, the muscles in the front of the neck weaken, causing a classic “double chin.”

The worst part is that you may not even be aware that this is happening!

Fortunately, making simple changes to the way you stand and sit can make your posture better, and eliminate FHP.

And that’s exactly what this weekend’s exercise is designed to do, by strengthening the muscles in the front of the neck. And it comes with an attractive bonus: it also helps to get rid of a double chin.

Why: The evidence is clear: FHP hurts your bones. Where your head goes, your body follows, and FHP eventually causes misalignment of the spine and hips.

FHP creates damaging muscle pull as the neck extensor muscles try to compensate for the weight of the head being held out over the center of gravity. The results: friction, pain, and weak neck flexor muscles.

And there’s also a detrimental vicious cycle: chronic FHP can bring on kyphosis, and the onset of kyphosis causes the head to move forward, exacerbating the condition.

In addition, FHP actually increases fracture risk.1

Other health risks associated with FHP include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Poor performance of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls automatic body processes like digestion and immunity.
  • Headaches due to muscle tension.
  • Painful pinched nerves.
  • Balance problems.
  • Problems with vision due to eye strain (your eyes must stay in an upward-looking position if you have FHP).

In correcting and preventing FHP, it’s important to keep your ribcage up and your chest open. You see, as your shoulders round forward, the muscles between your ribs (called the intercostals) tighten and become shorter. This prevents deep breathing, a crucial element in building strong bones through whole-body alkalization.

The Advanced Forward Head Posture Corrector will help you strengthen the muscles weakened by FHP, so you can easily hold your head in the correct position. This exercise simultaneously relaxes and tones the muscles in your neck that have tightened up to compensate.

How: This exercise is done while lying face-up on a bed.

  1. Lie on the edge of your bed with your neck on the very edge and your head hanging off. Relax your neck muscles.
  2. Using the flexor muscles in the front of your neck, slowly raise your head and bring your chin as close to your chest as you comfortably can. Keep your shoulders flat.
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then slowly lower your head back down to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done at least three sets of two complete head lifts.

If you feel dizzy after a few repetitions, simply sit up on the bed for a few minutes and then continue with the exercise. Or you can do a slightly different version of this exercise on the floor.

I am really glad to be able to share simple yet super-effective movements and techniques that can make a tremendous difference to your bone health.

The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is based on this idea of simplicity, but because the exercises are targeted specifically to build bone in areas often affected by osteoporosis, the movements are extremely effective.

The Densercise™ manual is illustrated with clear instructions and graphics on how to do each exercise, but to make it even easier, the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System also gives you access to exclusive online videos where I show you exactly how to do each move.

Using exercise to build your bones couldn’t be simpler and more effective! I hope that if you haven’t yet, you’ll check out the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System today by clicking here.

Have a great weekend!

References

1 Huang, MH, et al. “Hyperkyphotic Posture and Risk of Future Osteoporotic Fractures: The Rancho Bernardo Study.” Journal of Bone Mineral Research. March 2006. 21(3): 419-423. Web. http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTS/Hyperkyphotic_Posture_and_Risk.shtml

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21 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Nancy September 11, 2014, 1:43 am

    Id love to see a printed book format!

  2. Mary Gage August 23, 2014, 9:39 am

    thank you thank you for making printing your wonderful weekly exercise easier

  3. Judy August 17, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Thanks for everyone’s comments. It is easy to see that this area is not corrected easily. Cervical and thoracic spine posture can be challenging to correct due to the varying causes and effects. Many people have increased kyphosis of the whole thoracic spine, then extend the neck to be able to have the head level to see. Others are flattened in the thoracic spine, flex or bend forward at C7-T1 where the neck meets the thoracic spine. The neck above is often is extension or bent backward. Strengthening the deep neck flexors is helpful in that case. There are specific exercises to work on extending the joints where the Dowager’s hump appears. If someone is already in stuck postures, it is best to work with a physical therapist knowledgeable in this area (unfortunately all are not) to evaluate and find out specifically which exercises are best for each condition. Thoracic spine mobility is paramount as Vivian has pointed out many times before. Hanging the head over the bed can compress the vertebral arteries, so if someone is getting dizzy, best to check with someone.

  4. Marlene Villar August 17, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Good afternoon Vivian,
    This is an excellent reminder !Thank you very much
    for sharing this weekend challenge RE: Advanced
    forward head posture corrector.
    Have a wonderful afternoon and take care always.
    Marlene

  5. Elaine August 17, 2014, 12:15 am

    This week is so very helpful. I have both Save the Bones and Densercise. This week’s exchange in the comments is excellent along with the video for which you give the link in your reply to Andrea of the exercise for the back side of our necks. Although I have tried to do that exercise, I get almost nowhere with it – it is too hard for me [now I understand why it is so hard for me]. To know that there are two levels and to be given that clear demonstration, will make a huge difference. Thank you a million for your commitment to this project of helping others help themselves – a very holistic approach. How can I find out what other longer videos might exists on your web pages which demonstrate the stages of difficulties for some of the other exercises in Densercise for those of us who have some serious health challenges and already have your materials?

  6. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) August 16, 2014, 2:15 pm

    Good Afternoon Vivian,

    I’d Like To Know The Answer To Mattie S’s. Problem Myself. My Mom Has COPD And Is On Oxygen 24/7. Please Help Both Of Us!
    And I Thank You Very Much, In Advance, For Helping Us With This Very Important Problem!

    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourselves, And Stay Well Vivian And Mattie S.

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  7. Bo Dela Haye August 16, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Bo continues ;
    maybe we should also look into the weakness of the shoulderblade ?
    A slouched posture and overextended spine can both result from weakness at the scapulothoracic joint.
    Stabilty is needed here and a lack of it is the main ingredient for disaster ( neckpain, headaches , etc. )
    that’s it for now !

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 16, 2014, 12:27 pm

      Thanks for your detailed input, Bo! Stability is of prime importance, both for the upper and lower body :)

  8. Bo Dela Haye August 16, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Bo continious ;
    maybe we should also look into the weakness of the shoulderblade ?
    A slouched posture and overextended spine can both result from weakness at the scapulothoracic joint.
    Stabilty is needed here and a lack of it is the main ingredient for disaster ( neckpain, headaches , etc. )
    that’s it for now !

  9. Andrea August 16, 2014, 11:43 am

    Hi Vivian,
    Thank you for your great work and committment!
    In reading your suggested exercise for kyphosis and FHP:
    This exercise is working cervical flexors rather than extenders. The muscles that need strengthened in FHP are the upper back and cervixal extenders not flexors.
    I would think FHP kyphotic clients should lay face down and lift head to look up, place arms in T position and add upper back extension, scapular retraction, and open front of neck and chest.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 16, 2014, 12:20 pm

      That’s right, Andrea! Strengthening as many muscles as possible is very helpful to correct posture :)

      Check out this exercise video I posted a couple of years ago that is just as you describe:

      http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-exercises-spine/

      And in Densercise, there are many other beneficial moves that target posture while building bone density.

  10. Bo Dela Haye August 16, 2014, 11:17 am

    Hi Mike,
    i could’nt agree with you more !
    and we don’t solve muscle tension and inhibition with trying to make things stronger.
    if it was only that simple !
    there is a domino effect ,
    foreward shifting of the centre of gravity,( FHP)
    backward drifting of the upperbody ( compenstion ), kyphotic thorac.spine
    the hips tilt foreward as a compensation for the upper body shift,
    so, let’s work on posture first since it also affect breathing with decreased lung capacity and can have far reaching consequences too.
    bring awareness to your client,
    educate them.
    FHP is a result of an imbalance of positioning between the head and neck and although many muscle groups are involved, the deep muscles in the front of the neck are a main culprit involved in FHP.
    retraction of the head over the shoulders and performing a nodding motion ( chin slightly down, backof the head comes slightly up ) ) opens the space between the base of the skull and the top of the neck.
    feel this in the back of the neck. Hold for a few seconds and relax.

    BO de la Haye

  11. Mike August 16, 2014, 8:25 am

    This is re: Advanced Forward Head Posture Corrector. There are problems with what you’ve said and with the exercise. The text. mentioned: “use the extensors in front of your neck.” The muscles in front are FLEXORS. The EXTENSORS are in the back, the ones holding the head up. How could strengthening the FLEXORS…..which pull the head down, help to keep the head UP in proper position? You’ve got it backwards. Also, the exercise you’ve shown could really cause some problems with compression and loading. Any person with a current pain problem esp. with radiating symptoms into the upper extremities would very likely have their condition worsened by this exercise.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 16, 2014, 8:43 am

      You’re absolutely right, Mike – the flexors (longus colli, longus capitus, rectus capitus anterior, and rectus capitus lateralis) are found in the front, and the extensors (splenius capitis, semispinalis capitis, suboccipitals, trapezius) are in the back. :) We’ll make the correction to the typo you mentioned – thanks for noting it!

      The bottom line is, both sets of muscles need to be toned and supple to promote proper head position, and unfortunately, the flexors tend to become weak from under-use due to FHP. :)

      • Gopal Rao August 16, 2014, 12:08 pm

        Vivian, if, as u say,”…both sets of muscles need to be toned and supple to promote proper head position…”, shd the exercise not hv both upward lifting of the head and backward stretching, insequence, i.e. head back as far as possible, then fwd. Doing this while standing was the exercise recommended by a physio for tackling cervical spondylitis, and it strikes me it might help with FHP also. Would u agree?

  12. L.D. August 16, 2014, 8:10 am

    Good Morning All, Talk about just in the nick of time. I am already 2″ shorter and have trouble breathing at times. My ribs now touch my pelvic bone and yes indeed this causes digestive problems which I already had. I’ll have my husband stay with me for this exercise until I can be sure I’m stable. Many of the problems are real so please don’t dismiss any of them or you’ll end up like me. Vivian, I do have a question which I hope you can answer or give some direction on. If I do the exercises specifically for this condition, is there a possibility I can be much better in time? I’m scared most of the time waiting for a rib to crack or worse. Last night my ribs on left side were just angry the whole night no matter how I moved to get relief. Thanks for your ongoing help for the entire community, you have given me more information and good advise than any “specialist” I’ve been to in the past 10yrs… Blessings to you and yours…..

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 16, 2014, 8:47 am

      Dear L.D.,

      Having someone with you when you try an exercise for the first time is very wise!

      As far as your question goes, I believe in the ability of everyone’s body to reach an optimal state of health! But what that looks like is different for everyone. I commend you for doing everything you can to reach your body’s full health potential, and I wish you the best! :)

      • mattie S August 16, 2014, 1:22 pm

        vivian i cant do any lying down exercises, have gotten real hunched over,
        bought your density exercises long time agolost them what should i do
        that i can do sitting in a chair or standing up am on oxyagen and have copd

        • L.D. August 17, 2014, 8:30 am

          Hi Mattie, I too have breathing problems but mine is due to my spine crashing down. I have found that the stand in front of a doorway with legs slightly apart with one hand on each side while slowly creeping my hands up as far as is comfortable helps open the lungs. It took some time but I can now reach quite high and hold for 30 sec. or, as much of that as possible. I cant do most lay down exercises either due to the many other medical conditions. I have learned over time to adapt as best I can for chair or standing with some kind of support for balance. Dont EVER be discouraged, as long as we keep trying, we can at least achieve a better level of wellness than we had the day before… We just need to BELIEVE and keep on going…

        • Customer Support August 16, 2014, 2:30 pm

          Mattie, if you’ve lost your Densercise materials, we’ll be glad to get them to you. :) Please check your inbox for an e-mail from us!
          Densercise has plenty of exercises you can do that do not involve lying down. :)

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