Complete Postural Correction of Forward Head Posture

In 12 Weeks to Better Posture is the best posture program, if everyone did it I would be out of a job”  states Giovanni, a medical doctor who sought postural correction treatment for neck pain, tension headaches and cervical radiculopathy. At just 36 years old Giovanni was worried that the pain and tingling in his arm would interfere with his ability to perform surgery, risking the lives of his patients.

Giovanni knew that in order to manage the symptoms of his cervical radiculopathy, he needed to correct the postural distortion patterns causing the persistent issue.

Giovanni, like many others, presented with significant forward head posture contributing to increased pressure to the cervical nerve roots. Evidence supports that a non-surgical, multimodal postural correction approach is effective for decreasing symptoms of radiculopathy 92.6% of the time (Murphy et al, 2005). In the blog Evidence-Based Non-Surgical Strategies for Managing Cervical Radiculopathy you learned why the correction of forward head posture is effective in managing cervical radiculopathy. Click here to read more.

How to Correct Forward Head Posture:

Now that you know why it is important to correct forward head posture, let’s discuss proven postural correction strategies using Giovanni’s case as an example. Listed below are postural distortion findings from Giovanni’s initial posture photos and significant findings from the Complete Posture Analysis on his first visit.

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 Posture Distortion Patterns:
Forward head posture
Right lateral head tilt
Shoulder unleveling with left superiority
Anterior shoulder displacement
Pelvic unleveling with right superiority

 Significant Clinical Findings:
Sensory deficiency of C6 and C7 of the right arm
Decreased range of motion of the cervical spine
Bilateral hypertonicity of the suboccipital, trapezius, and pectoral musculature
Postural sway to the right with abnormal equilibrium
Spinal Push Test revealed spinal instability at C7, T1, T12, and L5

Correction Strategy:

The Complete Posture Correction (CPC) technique and specific postural correction exercises were utilized for posture correction. Correction of cervical spinal alignment utilizing the CPC corrects the laterality associated with head tilt. This is a non-rotational movement of the cervical spine opposite of the side of noted cervical laterality.

CPC of the upper thoracic spine is utilized to reverse hyperkyphosis of T1-T3. The correction takes place from anterior to posterior by leveraging movement into the levels of spinal instability increasing proprioceptive input to those joints. In addition, 2nd rib displacement was corrected bilaterally which was contributing to anterior shoulder rotation. To reduce hypertonicity of the trapezius muscles bilaterally, the trap and release muscle correction technique was utilized. This is an active therapy to reduce spasms of the indicated musculature.

For postural rehabilitation, Giovanni was instructed to do in-office cervical traction, wear head weights daily, and perform neck retractions daily. He began with 3 minutes of traction, and throughout the rest of his treatment plan he will advance to 5 minutes of cervical traction. While at home Giovanni does controlled neck retraction exercises everyday and wears cervical head weights while standing or walking for 20 minutes per day.

Neck retractions strengthen weakened cervical paravertebral muscles to maintain proper head posture. Head weights correct forward head posture causing a postural reflex that retracts the head and neck while strengthening the deep stabilizing muscles of the lower front neck region.

You can see posture changes that Giovanni had in just 3 weeks. His treatment plan will continue for a length of 12 weeks.

wgerweqwereGiovanni’s personal results with postural correction saved his career. He can perform surgery without fear of having shooting pain and numbness down his arms to his hands. He recognizes the need for a non-surgical approach of correcting cervical radiculopathy also for his patients. He claims his patients and his colleagues need to understand the importance of postural correction and implement it as a conservative healthcare strategy.

If Giovanni can have results like this in just 3 weeks, so can your patients. To discover more about Posturology and to meet more patients who have had noteworthy results like Giovanni, subscribe to the Posture by Design Blog. The next blog series will discuss posture and athletic performance. Click here to learn why a four-time superbowl champion claimed, “Old School Stretching is Out, FITPosture Is In!”

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Dr. Krista Burns DC, DrHA, CPE, CPEP

Co Founder Of American Posture Institute
Certified Posture Expert
Doctor Of Chiropractic
Doctor Of Health Administration
Certified Posture Exercise Professional