Exercises For Better Cervical Posture

Email to Your Friends

While talking, slowly pull your chin inwards. At one stage your voice will sound funny (nasal-like). Slowly release and stop at the position when your voice clears. This is your "correct" neck position. To strengthen the deep neck flexor muscle add some resistance using your hands or a towel, behind the neck. While doing the tuck, push neck back into fingers. Hold for 5 secs.

Is there a ‘normal’ or ‘best posture’ out there? If so, what is it? Posture is largely inherited; however, there are also environmental, social, and other forces that can affect posture.

Some say ‘good posture’ is the position that places the least amount of strain on the body, particularly the muscles and ligaments that hold the body together.

A common cause of poor posture is called forward head carriage (FHC), where the head sits forward of the shoulders, placing a greater strain on the back of the neck and upper back to hold the head upright. Looking at the spine from the side, the opening of the ear should line up with the shoulder, hip, and ankle.

There have been studies that suggest every inch (2.54 cm) of FHC increases muscle strain in neck and upper back by 10 pounds (4.5 kg). That means a 5 inch (~12.7 cm) FHC adds an extra 50 pounds (~22.7 kg) of strain on the neck and upper back to hold the head upright. So what can we do to improve our posture?

First, stay active to reduce the normal rate of degeneration that affects us all as we ‘mature’ through life! This recommendation requires us to keep fit and strive to maintain a normal BMI (body mass index or weight/height ratio) by balancing calorie intake and exercise.

2 Exercises For Cervical Posture

Now, besides being evaluated for specific spinal care, there are a couple exercises you can do to help improve your cervical posture:

The Chin Tuck

Exercise 1 is called a ‘chin tuck’. Here, you simply pull your chin inwards, producing a ‘double chin’. If you do this as far as you can and talk, your voice will sound funny (nasal-like).

Release the tuck until your voice clears. The moment it clears, STOP – that is your ‘new’ head position. Try to maintain that all day.

You will have to remind yourself to keep it tucked frequently at first, but as time goes on, it will feel more natural. This can take about three months on average, so be patient!

Adding Resistance

This exercise will strengthen the deep neck flexor muscles by doing the exact same thing as exercise 1. The only difference is adding resistance using your hands, towel, or a TheraBand (anything works) behind the neck. So while doing the chin tuck, you press the back of your mid-neck back into your finger tips (or band, towel, etc.) and hold for five seconds. Release it slowly. Do this five, ten, or multiple times a day.

There are other exercises too, but this is a great start! See your doctor of chiropractic for more specific individual needs!

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Dr. Blake Kalkstein DC, MS, CCSP, TPI, ART

While earning his D.C. degree, Dr. Blake worked as a chiropractic intern at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital in Bethesda, MD where he had the privilege to work in the amputee rehabilitation center. Dr. Blake’s post graduate sports medicine internship with John’s Hopkins Sports Medicine orthopedic surgeons allowed him to observe all types of injuries. Guidance from Dr. John Wilckens, team orthopedist for the Baltimore Orioles and his internship supervisor, led Dr. Blake to better understand advanced orthopedic and sports injuries and ways to appropriately manage each condition.

Email to Your Friends