Forward head posture: this common postural defect increases the gravitational forces of the head and may lead to hyperextension of the head on the neck, flexion of the neck over the thorax, and posterior migration of the jaw. Myofascially, there is lengthening and weakening of the anterior cervical soft tissue and hyoid muscles and hypertrophy of the masticatory muscles, shortening of the muscles of the upper neck region (suboccipital muscles). This could also cause derangement of the cervical vertebrae beneath the cranium (C1-C0). There would be tightening of the myofascial of anterior chest wall as well. Forward head posture can affect the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles that can also compromise the range of motion in the shoulders which can lead to shoulder injuries.
As a Registered Massage Therapist for the last 6 years, I have been treating common forward head posture problems and I have noticed the clients who most commonly exhibit forward head posture problems are the ones who use computers and have to work mostly at a desk and stationary areas. Others that have FHP are people who carry heavy bags or luggage frequently. People often ignore FHP and don’t think of it as causing future problems, so typically they believe that rest and other quick alternatives will address the issue. Unfortunately FHP, beside constant pains in the neck, can lead to other problems like cervical degenerative disc disease, tempromandibular joint dysfunction and as it progresses it could also reduce lung capacity because of the effect of the upper ribs and movement restriction. Physical therapy is a better choice of treatment and it is safe and drug free. Massage Therapists can help by assessing the tight muscles and the muscles that have not been used and have weakened over time. The treatment would combine inhibitory techniques by loosening and relaxing the tight muscles and stimulatory techniques by stimulating weaker muscles. Massage Therapists will also be able to give clients with FHP some tips to correct their posture and some specific stretches while at work as well as some tips for postural awareness so the client can avoid forward head posture and associated problems.