Forward head posture or loss of cervical lordosis

Head forward posture 

The first part of this page is for anyone wondering what the problem with cervical curvature (cervical lordosis) and its modification can be. Even if certain positions at school, at work and at home have always been able to influence the posture of the head, the excessive use of screens (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) may have accentuated this poor posture of the head. head for ten years.


Since 2002 she is working as a chiropractor in Montreal, QC and she is an expert fixing head posture.  Here is the website : chiropraticien montréal

What is called forward head posture results in a decrease in the lower cervical lordosis (the cervical curve which is said to be a smooth curve backwards) and an accentuation of the upper cervical curve.

The second part of this article is on the one hand for those who want to go further and see the references on this subject but also for health professionals who may not be familiar with the problems and pathologies linked to a loss of blood. cervical curve or forward head posture. If you are a patient and your healthcare professional or practitioner needs more information on this topic, you can give them the link to access scientific references published over the past 20 years.

Loss of cervical lordosis, cervical stiffness, reversal of cervical curvature, so what?

I often have patients with neck pain, headaches and even migraine telling me “I did a cervical x-ray, but I was told there was nothing” or “not”. great thing ”or“ nothing related to my pain ”.

I do not know where this belief comes from, but unfortunately some professionals minimize the impact of disturbances in the cervical spine and the link with health problems and pathologies in patients. Maybe it comes from some old studies; when there was not much knowledge on this subject; or professionals who are not aware of the latest studies (the last 20 years) on this subject!

What is cervical lordosis and what does loss of cervical lordosis represent?

Cervical and lumbar lordosis and dorsal kyphosisFirst of all you should know that the spine is made up of 3 curves when viewed in profile: a cervical lordosis (curve towards the back of the body), a dorsal kyphosis (curve towards the front of the body) and a lumbar lordosis (curve towards the back of the body). We are therefore interested here in cervical lordosis. In some people there is a decrease in the cervical curve called cervical stiffness and in others there is an inversion of the cervical curve.

It is difficult to say why there is cervical stiffness in a patient but different mechanisms could be at the origin of this cervical stiffness:

Babies are said to form curves in their spine when they roll onto their tummy and when they “crawl” while raising their head. And it would be during this period that the curves at the level of the spine, and in particular of the cervical column, are formed. It would therefore be during this period that in children who start walking too fast and do not crawl on all fours that the cervical curve does not form and give this aspect of cervical stiffness.

Among the studies that follow, some also talk about compensation mechanisms at the cervical level to counteract a dorsal hyperkyphosis (an accentuation of the dorsal curve towards the back of the body) which would be at the origin of this cervical straightness.

Other hypotheses also concern neurological compensation mechanisms (vestibular and oculomotor systems) which would be at the origin of the forward head posture.

These mechanisms could also be accentuated by bad postures on the desk, on the sofa or by the excessive use of screens which is called text-neck or tech-neck.

Head posture year beforeWhen the cervical spine moves forward, it is called a reversal of cervical lordosis. The inversion of the cervical curve would be more related to a shock such as a whiplash during a car accident, or when playing a sport (cycling, football, rugby, boxing, etc.), or during a fall,…  This is most often noticed around the axis C5-C6 (fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae  ) and as we will see later, could cause premature wear and the appearance of osteoarthritis.

Head posture forward, pathologies and pain symptoms

Whatever the reason for a loss of cervical curvature (cervical straightness), it is associated with conditions that can disrupt the normal functioning of the body and increase premature wear and tear on the joints.

It is for this reason that in our practice, we emphasize an approach that goes from traditional chiropractic care to rehabilitation based on functional neurology and ergonomic advice to help patients with their problems (reduce or remove the symptoms), avoid future relapses, and decrease the likelihood that these problems will continue to worsen over the years.

What are the problems and pathologies associated with a forward head posture (cervical stiffness)

As you can see below, a significant number of studies show the link between forward head posture (i.e. loss of cervical lordosis in the lower cervical area associated with increased lordosis cervical in the upper cervical) to many problems and pathologies. It should be understood that the existence of a link does not mean causation. But the logic and overlap between different studies and the fact that correcting curvature often results in improvement in certain symptoms may indicate that this loss of cervical curvature may be the cause or an aggravating factor in these problems.

The following studies have linked forward head posture to:

  • neck pain
  • decreased mobility and range of motion
  • premature wear and tear of the joints (osteoarthritis)
  • headaches including migraines
  • back pain
  • lower back pain
  • decreased breathing capacity
  • shoulder problems
  • balance and proprioception disorders
  • neuralgia
  • jaw problems
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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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