Forward head posture (FHP) paves the way for weak, tight, and strained neck muscles. They become part of the poor posture cycle, with weakened muscles failing to hold the head in the right position.
The Targeted Forward Head Posture Eliminator breaks that cycle by targeting the neck flexor muscles. Though seldom mentioned, this muscle group is pivotal in proper head positioning and alignment. And this weekend’s challenge is done lying down, making it accessible for just about everyone.
Let’s get started!
In the front of the neck are two deep neck flexor muscles called the longus capitis and the longus colli.
The longus capitis is connected to the occipital bone, which is the bone at the very base of the skull. It attaches to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth cervical vertebrae. It’s responsible for lateral flexion (bringing the ear toward the shoulder).
The longus colli is composed of three portions: the superior oblique, inferior oblique, and the vertical. The first portion, the superior oblique, attaches to the third, fourth, ad fifth cervical vertebrae and connects to the atlas, which is the topmost cervical vertebra.
The inferior oblique is the smallest portion of the longus colli, running from the first two thoracic vertebrae to the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae.
The vertical portion attaches to the top three thoracic vertebrae and inserts into the second, third, and fourth cervical vertebrae.
Despite the fact that these muscles and muscle groups are often ignored, they are of great importance when it comes to neck and head positioning.
Why Neck Flexors Matter
Spinal alignment and posture begin with your head. Toned, strong neck muscles bring your head and neck into optimal position for balance and strength, and this has a “ripple effect” down your body.
The neck flexors, as mentioned earlier, are located in the front of your neck. They are often neglected in cases of poor posture or head and neck pain, with most of the focus going to muscles in the back of the neck. But the ones in the front play a significant role.
The neck flexors provide all-important stability in the neck. Stability is essential for alignment; misaligned cervical joints tend to jostle together uncontrollably when you move, wearing the vertebrae down and causing pain. Additionally, bones and joints need to be aligned in order to respond to exercise by building up, not wearing down.
One way to visualize this is to picture a stack of small, wooden blocks. Now picture a hole drilled down through all of them, and a bundle of strings running down through the hole. If only one of the blocks gets out of position, even slightly, then the strings are bent and pushed to one side. If you picture the strings as your spinal cord and the blocks as your cervical vertebrae, then you can better understand how misaligned vertebrae can cause nerve pain.
Tight neck flexors can cause this misalignment by pulling these “blocks” out of their proper position. Weak flexors are also a problem, because they aren’t able to hold your head up and their weakness forces other muscles to compensate, thus skewing alignment even more.
Because of their role in aligning the head and vertebrae, the deep flexors in the neck are associated more with headaches than other neck muscles. Strengthening can help decrease headache severity and frequency, and also guards against injury.
Given the important roles of these muscles, it’s remarkable how such a simple exercise as the Targeted Forward Head Posture Eliminator can be so effective. But rest assured –it is!
You’ll need an ordinary towel for this exercise, such as a small bath towel or large hand towel. Fold it into a pad that fits under your neck and under the bottom portion of the back of your head.
- Lie on your back with your head and neck supported by the towel. Lie with your face and head in a “neutral” position, with your nose pointing at the ceiling and all muscles relaxed.
- Without turning your head to the side or lifting your head, slowly bring your chin down toward the front of your neck.
- Bring your chin back up to the starting position and repeat.
- Do this “nodding” motion eight to 10 times, or whatever fits your comfort level.
As you can see, this motion is in direct opposition to FHP, a common but detrimental posture error. There are all sorts of counteractive moves you can do to bring your head and neck into alignment, flatten your upper back, and correct FHP. You’ll find many such moves in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, the perfect companion to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
Densercise™ addresses the entire skeletal system, including the upper back and neck, and has its basis in Wolff’s Law – the principle that stress on bones from exercise actually stimulates bone growth. This law has been demonstrated again and again, affirming the importance of exercise in a bone-building program. And for bones to respond to the stress from muscles and gravity, they need to be in proper alignment. Densercise™ takes this into account, including stretches and warm-ups that help the bones “get ready” for a workout.
While the Densercise™ manual is very thorough and includes clear illustrations, if you have any doubts as to the moves or need to see a live person perform the “Densercises,” then you’ll be glad to know that Densercise™ includes an online video collection that you can refer to in order to clarify the moves.
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The Weekend Challenges are the perfect way to round out your Densercise™ routine. And as usual, I love hearing from our community, so let me know how today’s challenge went for you by leaving a comment below.
Enjoy the weekend!