Forward head posture is a very common postural concern. It is especially prevalent nowadays as we spend much of our lives hunched over computer and phone screens with our head tilted down and our neck stretched forward. This seemingly innocuous habit can have quite severe consequences, particularly on the cervical spine, and it might even contribute to those cervicogenic headaches (neck pain headaches) you might be experiencing.

As experienced physiotherapists, we’ve had countless patients come in with forward head posture and other postural complaints and so we know exactly how to fix them! 

What is Forward Head Posture?

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture, commonly known as “text neck” or “computer neck,” occurs when the head protrudes forward, placing strain on the neck and upper back. Ideally, the head should sit directly above the shoulders, but with prolonged periods of looking down at screens or slouching, this delicate balance is disrupted. This misalignment can lead to a cascade of issues, affecting not just our posture but our overall health.

What Causes Forward Head Posture?

What Causes Forward Head Posture

The main culprit behind forward head posture is usually our modern lifestyle. Extended hours spent hunched over desks, staring down at smartphones, and a lack of awareness about maintaining proper posture all contribute to the development of this condition. Over time, the muscles in the neck and upper back weaken, and the supporting structures become strained, gradually leading to the forward displacement of the head.

Negative Impacts on the Cervical Spine

The cervical spine, or the neck region of the spine, bears the brunt of forward head posture. The misalignment increases the load on the vertebrae, discs, and supporting muscles, potentially causing chronic pain, stiffness, and even reducing the range of motion. As the head moves forward, it places additional stress on the neck’s delicate structures, setting the stage for various musculoskeletal issues.

Contribution to Headaches

Surprisingly, forward head posture isn’t just a pain in the neck – it can also be a major headache, quite literally. The strain on the cervical spine and associated structures can lead to cervicogenic headaches, characterised by a persistent, dull ache around the head. The constant tension and stress on the muscles can create a cycle of pain that becomes challenging to break without addressing the root cause.

Exercises to Fix Forward Head Posture

Now, let’s look at a few exercises you can do to fix forward head posture. Incorporating these simple exercises into your daily routine can help reverse the effects of forward head posture and alleviate associated discomfort.

Chin Tucks

Chin tucks strengthen the neck muscles and promote a better alignment of the head.

Chin Tucks
Chin Tucks 2
  • Sit upright in a chair or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Gently tuck your chin in, as if making a double chin.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times. Perform several sets throughout the day.

Neck Flexion Stretch

This stretch can relieve tension in the neck and upper back.

Neck Flexion Stretch
  • Sit or stand up straight.
  • Slowly lower your chin towards your chest.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Gently release and repeat. Perform several sets but make sure not to overdo it – stretching too deep or too often can exacerbate the issue. 

Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapula Stretch

This is just a fancy name for a basic neck stretch. The upper trapezius/levator scapula stretch is a simple yet effective exercise to relieve tension and tightness in the neck and shoulder area. 

Upper Trapezius And Levator Scapula Stretch
  • Sit or stand comfortably with your body relaxed.
  • Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards the shoulder, while keeping the opposite shoulder still and lowered.
  • For a deeper stretch, you can gently place your hand to the back of the head and apply a little extra pressure, ensuring not to strain.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, feeling a stretch on the side of your neck.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • This stretch should be done gently and without forcing the neck into uncomfortable positions. It’s ideal for regular breaks throughout the day, especially for those with desk jobs.

Shoulder Squeezes 

The shoulder blade squeeze strengthens the muscles between your shoulder blades, improving forward neck posture.

Shoulder Squeezes
Shoulder Squeezes 2
  • Stand up straight with your arms at your sides.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and release.
  • Repeat 10 times.

How to Fix Forward Head Posture

Addressing forward head posture involves adopting proactive measures to counteract its effects. By consciously incorporating exercises into your routine, such as chin tucks and neck stretches, you can gradually correct the misalignment and strengthen the supporting muscles. Additionally, maintaining awareness of your posture during daily activities, especially screen time, is crucial for preventing the recurrence of forward head posture.

Fix Forward Head Posture with Benchmark Physio Today

To achieve a lasting forward head posture fix, consistency is key. Regularly practising exercises designed to strengthen the neck and upper back muscles will contribute to realigning the head with the shoulders. Combine this with mindful posture habits to maximise the effectiveness of your efforts. Remember, small, consistent steps can lead to significant improvements in fixing forward head posture.

Understanding the impact of forward head posture on the cervical spine and its potential contribution to headaches empowers us to take proactive steps in fixing and preventing this issue. By incorporating simple exercises and making conscious lifestyle adjustments, we can strive to fix forward head posture, promoting overall well-being. Remember, a little effort today can go a long way in preserving the health of your neck and alleviating those nagging headaches.


Before undertaking any new exercise regimen, it is crucial to consult with a physiotherapist or healthcare professional. Each individual’s condition is unique, and personalised guidance ensures that exercises are suitable for your specific needs and health status.