Do you have Anterior Head Carriage? What our chiropractors assess for

Anterior head carriage is a common condition where the head is improperly aligned with the neck and shoulders.

It is caused by poor posture and repetitively leaning forward for prolonged periods.

People who are likely to develop this posture are those who sleep with their head elevated too high on pillows, hunch whilst reading a book, riding a bike or scrolling on their phone.

Some professions where workers are likely to develop anterior head carriage include truck drivers, office workers, teachers and hairdressers.

Figure 1; Imbalance of chest and upper back muscles.

As our bodies settle into these positions the muscles surrounding our neck and shoulders develop an imbalance.

The muscles at the back of the neck and shoulders and those at the front of our chest become very overactive and tight.

Meanwhile, the muscles on the front of our neck and lower shoulders become weak therefore impact on the way our joints function leaving us more prone to injury.

If left unaddressed, increased compression of the zygapophyseal joints can result in the inception of degenerative changes leading to spondylosis (wear and tear arthritis).

The following symptoms may also arise; all of which can lead to a decrease in concentration and productivity;

  • kyphosis (excessively rounded shoulders)
  • poor balance
  • numbness and tingling in the upper arms
  • headaches and migraines
  • neck pain
  • sore shoulders
  • ear and jaw pain
  • or difficulty breathing

Here are some tips you can use to prevent and reduce the degree of anterior head carriage:

  • modify your desk arrangement to ensure your posture is correct (see diagram below)
  • add a lumbar roll or towel to your car seats
  • consciously be aware of slouching habits or movements that worsen your posture
  • hold your phone or book up to eye level
  • limit time spent watching TV or using computers
  • take regular breaks from sitting every 15-20 minutes
  • aim to achieve 30 minutes of low-impact activities daily
  • and assess your current pillow height (our chiropractors can help you with this!).

To reduce your anterior head carriage posture here are 3 exercises you can do:

Chin Tucks

This aims to activate and strengthen the front of your neck (deep cervical flexor muscles). 

Place 2 fingers at the bottom of your chin.

Gently tuck your chin in and retract your head backwards. 

At the same time, use your fingers to keep the chin tucked in the entire time. 

Hold the end position for 3 to 5 seconds.

Relax your neck for a moment. 

Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Doorway stretch

This stretch aims to open up your chest and shoulders. 

Position your elbows and hands in line with a doorframe. Step through the door slowly, until you feel a stretch.   

Hold this end position for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to the starting position.    

Repeat this stretch 2-3 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise will activate and strengthen your low and mid back muscles.

Position your feet and knees slightly wider than your hips, as you sit on a chair. 

Maintain a chin tuck and raise your chest up, allowing your spine to be in a neutral position. Rest both of your arms down by your sides. 

Now bring your arms back and externally rotate them so that your thumbs are pointing backwards.

Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and release.

Your treatment plan with our Chiropractors may include a range of mobilisation techniques that encourage freer movement in your back, neck and shoulders. Adjustments of the spine to help remove any restrictions in the joints and your treatment plan will involve some home activities that you can perform between each visit to speed up the healing process.

Neck and back stretches and self-massage with a spiky ball can help maintain the muscle elasticity after treatment. Prescribing gentle resistance exercises can help to increase the tone and strength of your muscles. Everyone has different needs and so your chiropractor will determine which exercises are suitable for you at the time of your visit.

If you haven’t already attended one of our workshops where we give you the best tips on how to maintain a perfect posture whilst working, driving, sleeping plus more on how to care for your spine and body.

Call 9792 1945, our friendly receptionists will book you in!