Forward Chin Carriage Exercises

By Emma Thompson, Musculoskeletal Therapist

With an erect posture, the weight of the head is approximately 4.5kg, that being when it is carried directly over the centre of gravity. With a forward head carriage of 7cm’s the weight added to the cervical spine can increase by almost 14kg.

As you can imagine this can cause quite a lot of stress on our bodies over time and can contribute to:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Upper Thoracic pain and stiffness
  • Cervicogenic Headaches
  • Temporo-mandibular (jaw) Dysfunction
  • Prolonged posture can also negatively effect lung capacity and breathing as it encourages the use of accessory muscles of respiration of the neck and shoulder region which should only be recruited under times of respiratory stress, rather then breathing from the diaphragm

The following exercises are designed to help bring the head back to central alignment over the cervical spine.

Brugger Posture Relief:

Will engage postural muscles of the spine and take pressure off ligaments that hold the spine up during slouching and ultimately lead to upper back pain relief. May be uncomfortable for some at first.

  1. Sit at the edge of your chair (placing the crease of your bum on the edge)
  2. Spread Legs slightly apart and place soles of feet flat on the ground pointing slightly outwards
  3. Roll shoulders back and place arms by the sides splaying fingers and turning palms upwards
  4. Tilt pelvis forward and raise breastbone upwards
  5. Hold head up high imagining there is a string pulling the crown toward the ceiling.
  6. Rest your weight through the lower abdominals and legs.
  7. Hold for 10 deep breaths. 

Wall Stand:

The Wall Stand is a simple an effective way to passively stretch the body with a strong focus on the shoulder girdle and head/neck position, helping to lengthen the muscles in the posterior muscles of the neck.

  1. Stand up nice and tall as close to the wall as possible ensuring that your buttocks, shoulders and head are slightly making contact with the wall
  2. Look Forward keeping the Head Straight
  3. Ensure legs are neutral (softened knees) and feet are shoulder width apart toes pointing forward
  4. Pull shoulders back by squeezing shoulder blades together; be careful not to arch the lower back.
  5. Keep chin tucked in
    Breathe deeply into the abdomen for 1-2 minutes.
  6. To increase the intensity of the exercise, bring arms out to sides to a 90 degree right angle trying to get wrists resting on the wall as close as possible
  7. Make a “Snow Angel” motion moving upwards first and then back downward, completing the movement with arms finishing in original staring position of wall stand
  8. Repeat Movement slowly 8-10 times. 

Chin Tuck:

Helps strengthen muscles that have over time become weak due to an upper crossed posture.

  1. Lie face down on a mat, resting the tip of your nose on the floor,
  2. Arms are down by the side and shoulders relaxed
  3. Take a deep breath and hold it in
  4. Lift your head off the floor keeping it parallel (try not to lift chest, shoulders or lower back)
  5. Tuck Chin as you lift the head.
  6. Hold for 10seconds and return to starting position
  7. Repeat 10 times resting in-between.
  8. This exercise can also easily be adapted to seated position
  9. Ensure the chin is parallel to the floor
  10. Pull head and neck straight back so that you can feel a stretch at the back of the neck (for most of us this will mean a self imposed double chin)
  11. Hold Position for 10 seconds. Repeat as above allowing adequate rest time between tucks.

Are you suffering from neck pain and headaches? Book an appointment with Emma today!