Have you been leaning forward too much?

The forward head is a common postural flaw
photo: V Ugnivenko

A forward head seems to be the result of living a full life: one with a great job and great friends.  Hours sitting in front of computers dreaming up the latest business strategy combined with countless evenings leaning forward to listen to the passions and pursuits of our friends and loved ones can, unfortunately, lead to a forward head.

And so it is that I have yet to encounter a client who did not have a forward head.  While ideally the skull should de directly above the shoulders, most of us have a head that hangs in front of the shoulders.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you practice Pilates and go about your daily activities.

  1. There is a notch on the back of your head called the external occipital protuberance (EOP).  When this point and your nose are on the same plane, your head is in neutral
  2. When people who have forward heads lie on their backs, it can cause the cervical spine to overextend.  Place a pillow or pads under your head to avoid unnecessary tension in the neck
  3. The cervical spine should follow the thoracic spine.  Whenever you flex, extend, laterally flex, or laterally extend the spine, the cervical spine should follow.  Though for many of us it is the first instinct, you never want to lead with the head
  4. Before flexing the upper spine, gently nod your head to lengthen the back of the neck.  You should have space between your chin and chest to place a small ball or fist

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