What is Anterior Head Carriage and How to Fix it
Anterior head carriage occurs when our head moves forward in relation to normal body alinement.
With our sternum up and scapula back our heads should be centered over our hips with our ears falling in line with the center of our shoulders. All other positions cause increased stress on our spines and the muscles surrounding it.
The Effects (and extra weight) of Anterior Head Carriage
On average the human head weights an impressive 14 pounds alone, not including the weight of our necks. With our necks easily we can be over 20 pounds.
For every one inch our heads moves forward, out of alignment, our spine and the muscles surrounding it, gain an additional 10 pounds of added stress due to gravitational forces downwards.
So, if you simply have a 2 inch anterior head carriage, the stress and force applied to your bones and the muscles of your neck and upper back is over 34+ pounds.
Remember, this doesn’t include the weight of our necks.
How it Effects the Body
Anterior head carriage causes structural damage, pain and discomfort in our upper backs and necks. Tension type headaches are also associated with this destructive posture.
What causes anterior head carriage?
Any situation that causes us to lean forward for an extended period of time like working on our computer, or simply standing or walking with our head down, sternum dropped and our shoulders rounded forward.
Anterior head carriage begins to structurally change the shape of our necks and our spines by reshaping our bones and weakening the muscles that support our living.
Also, keep in mind, that we have a natural curve in our spine in our necks. As our head leans forward, this curve straightens out and here we go; pain, discomfort, and earlier degeneration of our spines.
Correcting Anterior Head Carriage
So what do you do? Straighten up you kids, literally!
Let’s look at how much we need to straighten up.
How do I Know if I Have it?
Stand with your back and heals against a wall and measure the space between the back of your head and the wall itself. If your head is centered over your body you will have very little space if any.
To be more accurate the center of your ear should line up over the center of your acromion where the supraspinatus muscle inserts at the greater tubercle of the humerus bone.
Take a level and find the true center of your shoulder. Once this line is established the center of your ear should line up right over your shoulder where the supraspinatus inserts at the greater tubercle of the humerus bone. The amount of your ear in front of this line, indicates the amount of anterior head carriage you have.
How to Correct it
If you find you do have anterior head carriage work on correcting this by doing head retractions periodically throughout the day.
- While sitting upright move your head backwards without extending or flexing your neck. Think of it as giving yourself a double chin. Initially this will feel very awkward but over time you will become more comfortable with it and you will start to feel what position your head should be in. Do this every hour 10 times.
- After double chin session, raise your sternum up, retract your scapula, pull your humerus bone in your arms backward and contract your traps and rhomboids and hold this ascending rapture pose for 20 to 30 seconds then relax for 30 second and repeat 3 to 5 times.
If you ever experience any abnormal symptoms or excessive pain do not perform the above retractions and get evaluated by a doctor.
Let Us Help You
Helping you is simple… contact us for a complimentary evaluation at 805-813-3280. Believe me, If you are ready for the new you it will be one of the most significant calls of your life.
God Bless and as always, be safe out there!
Brian K. Theiss is an innovator and thought leader in the area of performance fitness. He has been an internationally awarded Executive Health and Wellness Consultant since 1987. He has the distinction of being the very first Certified Fitness Trainer by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA).
Brian has trained numerous Fortune 500 executives, professional and elite athletes, and high-profile entertainers. When empowering life’s possibilities, Brian is the go-to choice for the highest performance results.
In 2016, the ISSA again recognized Theiss, as the #1 Executive Health and Wellness Consultant among 250,000 fitness and wellness professionals in 93 countries. It is this consistent recognition of the TheissCare method that brings clients to TheissCare, LLC from around the world.