There are theories that forward head posture exacerbates the development of pain (algesic substances) in the neck and head. The unbalanced mechanics of the over contracted muscles at the ‘back’ of the neck versus the stretched position of the muscles at the ‘front’, causes a dysfunction.
The average weight of the human head is about the weight of a 5 kg bowling ball.
When you hold the bowling ball with one hand in an upright (neutral) position, it’s fairly easy. Now, once the bowling ball tilts slightly forward, the muscles in your hand and arm have to contract harder to counteract the forces. If your arm tilts 30° forward the weight of the ball will be too much for your hand to hold up.
The bowling ball does not increase in weight. The forces added by gravity to the bowling ball increases incrementally as the bowling ball is tilted out of neutral. This is a simulation of forward head posture relative to the torso and the muscular strain to the neck muscles.
Hansraj (2015) reported the head in neutral position places 4.5-5.5 kg to the neck. Head tilt 15° forward generates 12 kg that is more than double the forces of the head in neutral position. Head tilt 60° forward generates 27 kg to the neck.
When your head translates forward relative to your body, it increases the compression forces on the cervical apophyseal joints (neck).2
This is commonly noted in office workers and students, where they sit for a long duration at a time. Altered head positions can also be noticed in hobbies or professions involving instruments such as a violin.
The muscles fatigue, causing an alteration of the neck-head function and may result in headaches. Tension-type headaches and cervicogenic headaches can be resolved with a range of modalities, such as chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage, acupuncture, etc.
1.Hansraj, KK. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical technology international, 25, 277-279.
2.Silva, A.G., Punt, T.D., Sharples, P., Vilas-Boas, J.P., & Johnson, M.I. (2009). Head posture assessment for patients with neck pain: is it useful?… including commentary by Edmondston S. International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation, 16(1), 43-53.