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How to Fix Forward Head Posture (Tech Neck or Nerd Neck)

July 9, 2021
Mobility
Author: 
Joel Runyon

Nerd neck. Tech neck. Text neck. Forward head posture. If you’ve been sitting at your desk for the last year and noticed your neck starting to tighten up - you might have it.

But what is forward head posture, how do you know if you have it, is it dangerous and what can you do to fix it?

We’ve got all that covered and more for you here. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Forward Head Posture?

Forward head posture is when your head is positioned with your ears in front of your body’s midline.

This causes weak muscles across your neck and back and can cause stiffness, discomfort, rounded shoulders and imbalances around your body.

It’s usually caused by jutting your head forward, sticking your neck out and slouching that usually happens when you’re driving, reading, texting on devices, or on the computer.

The causes of this have spawned other names including tech neck, text neck, computer neck, nerd neck, and more - but we’ll cover those later.

Symptoms of Forward Head Posture

You might have it if you experience the following

  • Headaches
  • Pain in your neck or shoulders
  • TMJ
  • Jaw pain
  • Tingling in your upper arms.
  • Restricted overall upper boy movement.

How to Know if You Have Forward Head Posture, Tech Neck, Nerd Neck or Text Neck?

The easiest way to determine if you have forward head posture is to take a photo of yourself from the side and notice where your ear lines up with your shoulders. If it’s significantly in front of your shoulders - you probably have tech neck (this is most people these days).

You can also stand with your back against the wall while pinching your shoulder blades together and see if you can move your head back against the wall. If you can’t 

The Top 5 Causes of Forward Head Posture / Tech Neck

If you’re experiencing FHP or Tech Neck, you’re not alone, the top 5 causes of it are incredibly common everyday activities.

  1. Using computers or laptops.
  2. Texting and constant phone usage.
  3. Playing video games
  4. Cycling (despite being active!)
  5. Reading (proving you don’t have to have tech to have bad posture)

How to Fix Forward Head Posture?

So you’re sick of the pain - how do you get rid of it without crazy surgery or a bunch of expensive doctor appointments.

Luckily there’s a bunch of things you can do on your own to fix your forward neck posture issues.

Do Chin Tucks

A chin tuck is a straightforward movement to help reverse forward head posture.

  1. Sit up straight without any slouching.
  2. Tuck your chin under your neck to reverse the forward head posture
  3. Pull your head backwards without moving your head vertically. Almost like someone is pulling you straight back.
  4. Hold this for 5-10 seconds and repeat this 10 times throughout the day.

You can also do this by placing a finger on your chin and then pulling your chin away from your finger if that’s easier.

Do Farmer Carries

Farmers carries are very straightforward.

  1. Pick up two heavy, but doable kettle bells and leave your shoulders back.
  2. Look up ahead and practice good posture.
  3. Walk 50m with a kettle bell in each hand.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times on each site.

Watch a full farmer carry tutorial here.

Do Suit Case Carries

Suit case carries are farmer carries dialed up a notch.

  1. Load up a bar bell with a heavy, but doable weight.
  2. Pick it up in one hand and walk 50m - balancing it the whole way
  3. Keep your back upright and chin tucked while practicing good posture.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times per session on each side.

Watch a full suit case carry tutorial here.

Try Mewing

Mewing - or improving your mouth posture isn’t specifically going to fix forward head posture - it will put you in the practice of practicing good posture on a regular basis.

Throughout the day, practice raising your tongue to the roof of your mouth and pressing it there. The consciousness you’ll have to have in order to that constantly should help with with your forward neck posture issues & pain. 

You can read up on our guide to mewing here.

Do Wall Sits

1. Stand with your back against a wall and walk your feet out from the wall.

2. Make sure your entire back is flat against the wall and touching.

3. Tuck your chin and pull the lower part of your head to the wall.

4. Hold it for as long as you can and do a few 

See a full wall sit tutorial here.

Use a Massage Gun

While you’re working - it might not be a bad idea to have a massage gun at the ready next to your desk. You can often mute yourself in a meeting and work out parts of your legs and shoulders with a massage gun while sitting at your desk that you wouldn’t be able to do if you had to bust out a foam roller.

Our review of our top favorite massage guns is here. Pick the right one for you.

More ways to fix forward head posture.

In addition to the above remedies, you can also research our stretching guides - by digging in and implementing the stretches in these sections - you can make significant progress on 

In addition to stretching, the best way to improve these muscles is to exercise them. You can take a look at a bunch of free exercises from our sister site - Impossible Fitness below:

Other Names Forward Head Posture Is Known By

Forward head posture is the medical name for this condition, but it’s commonly known in internet circles by other names as well. Here are the most prominent variations.

Tech Neck

Tech neck may be the most commonly known variant of forward head posture. As the white collar work force moved to the cloud, it turns out forward head posture has affected the entire work from home / tech industry and the term “tech neck” was introduced. We gotta say - it’s definitely catchier than forward head posture, but the condition is the same. Call it forward head posture or tech neck - you still gotta fix it.

Text Neck

When I first read that this was a term, I thought someone was misspelling tech neck - but in fact this is just a version of forward head posture focused on teens who are texting all the time. But, let’s be honest - it doesn’t affect just teens anymore.

Texting constantly keeps your head angled downwards and text neck causes all of the same issues that tech neck or nerd neck do - sometimes more acutely since your face is facing directly down!

Nerd Neck

Nerd neck is a derogatory version of tech neck. Originally created to mock gamers and coders, as the world has gone remote - tech workers of all creeds have become affected by forward head posture so the term “nerd neck” is not only outdated, but inaccurate. That said - the sterotype of the hunched over gamer survives through this naming iteration.

More Neck and Posture Resources

If you want to dive deeper into having better posture and less pain, here are some of our most popular resources so you can start feeling better today.

Other Forward Head Posture Reading

If you’re looking for more reading on forward head posture, tech neck, nerd neck or text neck, check out the following resources.

Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.

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