How Forward Head Posture Impacts Your Ability To Breathe

How Forward Head Posture Impacts Your Ability To Breathe

How are you sleeping these days?  Are you struggling to get a proper nights rest?  


I’d be interested to see what your postureactivites of daily life and current physical condition are like.  Most specifically though, I’d like to see where your head's at!


A vast majority of my clients are in physical pain, AND not sleeping well.  As a Corrective Exercise Specialist I see clients every single day who are looking to improve their physical condition.  

Most come in with some degree of Forward Head Position.  In fact,  is unbelievably common these days, and something that is in my opinion, almost 100% posture related and can be corrected.  Clients with Forward Head Posture in general have a nasty trifecta of combined symptoms that run together.  They are:  


  1. Chronic muscle and joint pain symptoms
  2. Poor posture (forward head position)
  3. Difficulty getting to sleep or poor quality sleep 


Sound familiar?  If you struggle with getting a good night's sleep, and never considered the possibility that your posture is connected to the equation, let's see if you fit into one of these two scenarios.  


The Connection Between Neck Pain, Forward Head Position & A Lousy Night's Sleep


  1. You can get to sleep just fine, but pain wakes them in the middle of the most restful part of the sleep cycle.  
  2. You're in so much pain, you can't get comfortable enough to fall asleep and are restless the entire night.  

If that describes you, you're not getting enough rest to renew your body.  It only takes a few days before lack of quality sleep takes a toll in mind, body and spirit.  


Now add chronic physical pain to the mix.  

If you have chronic musculoskeletal and/or joint pain, you'll moves less and less and now you're stuck in the chronic pain cycle. 


Traditional health care tell us to avoid motion or moving a body part if something hurts.  We move less, medicate it, massage it and hope it will go away on its own.  We're expending less daily energy and now on top of that, we begin to compensate for the lack of motion in one body part and transfer movement to another area ill equipped to perform another body parts function. 


Take neck and head pain.  

Say you're feeling pain in the shoulders, neck and head.  When this type of pain begins to set in, it’s natural to limit motion to the shoulder on the affected side.


In response to moving the shoulder less, the elbow and writs on the same side are forced to take over shoulder function.  It hurts to move the shoulder, but you have to get the movement from somewhere.  It’s easiest to draw the movement from the periphery (the next closest joints being the elbow and wrist).


Here in lies the fundamental chicken vs egg problem.  The elbow and the wrist aren’t designed to perform shoulder function.  It’s only a matter of time until bigger problems arise such as chronic neck pain, head aches, migraines, TMJ, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.  

The shoulder isn't moving properly, the elbow and wrist are compensating and now the body begins to rotate on itself from the imbalance muscularly front to back and side to side.  The affected area begin to round forward taking the head and neck along for the ride.  The major load joints of the body start moving out of blue-print design resulting in a forward head posture and a crummy nights rest.


Did you know that for every 1 inch the head moves forward of neutral position in the side view, an additional 15-30 pounds of tension is placed on the supporting neck muscles? OUCH!

A domino effect is happening.  

The head is out of position and the center of gravity is pulled forward.  


Pretty easy to see you'll have to load the hip on that side and transfer our body weight to the other.  Now all we have is a hot mess in the spine and muscles in the entire core area of the body.  


The shoulders are off, the head and neck are strained forward (causing more pain and lack of oxygen and nutrient delivery) the hips are off and the body is out of balance front to back and side to side.  


All because of an original physical pain that was treated with rest or lack of motion.  No wonder a person in this scenario isn’t sleeping well.


Physical pain and postural imbalance day in and day out sets up the trifecta.  You move less, so you expend less energy throughout the day.  Pretty easy to see how this can cumulate in poor quality sleep.


Perhaps this statement seems counter intuitive, but in all honesty, your body is crying out for motion, the correct motion that you can find again by working with a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist

At Pain Free Posture MN we'll teach you that it's your POSITION (your posture) and not your CONDITION (your pain/symptom) that must be addresses to resolve the issue.


Your poor nights rest may be due to forward head posture that is easily corrected by addressing the postural imbalances within the body.


In the next few days, we'll take a look at what you can do to address the issue. You can get a good night's rest! Remember,  PAIN IS A SIGNAL.  Are you listening?