Muscles causing forward head and hunched shoulders
Pectoralis Minor, Major, and Trapezius cause forward head
Tight Pectoralis Minor causes forward head
Forward head is caused by the Pectoralis Minor, a little known or understood muscle of the Pectoralis muscle group located in the chest. It attaches at the front of scapula (shoulder blade) to the third, fourth, and fifth rib from the top of the rib cage. When this muscle is tight, it will pull the shoulders into a hunched over position and cause the forward head that sticks out.
The Pectoral Minor can become tight from overuse by leaning over a computer or schoolwork, etc. It’s hard to image that it’s being “overused” while at rest leaning forward, but it’s in a constant state of flexion creating the muscle imbalance and forward head.
Posture correction stretches need to be used in this case to stretch tight pectoralis minor muscles to allow the forward head and shoulders to move back up into a natural upright position.
Tight Pectoralis Major causes forward head
The Pectoralis Major is the better known of the Pectoralis muscle group, it the muscle that is associated with the chest as a whole. It attaches to the front upper part of the humerus (arm bone) to the entire length of the sternum (breast bone), and to the clavicle (collarbone). When this muscle is tight, it will pull the shoulders forward into a hunched over position, bringing the forward head with it.
Just like the Pectoralis Minor, this muscle will become tight from a lot of leaning over. Another way for this to occur is when men train their chests too much neglecting to train the opposing muscle groups.
Posture correction stretches need to be used to stretch the tight Pectoralis Major muscles to bring the forward head and shoulders back into the upright position.
Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi cause forward head
The Trapezius muscle group
The Trapezius muscle group attaches the top part of the spine, the base of the skull, and the back of the shoulder blade. This muscle group causes hunched over shoulders and protruding head when it is weak from under use.
When one is hunched or leaning over a lot, the Trapezius muscles will become weak and elongated. This will allow the tight Pectoralis muscles on the front of the shoulders to pull the head and shoulders forward.
Posture correction strengthening exercises need to be used to make the Trapezius muscles stronger, so they can pull the head and shoulders back into an upright position.
The Latissimus Dorsi
A tight Latissimus Dorsi causes hunched over shoulders even though it is in the back of the shoulders. Notice in the image how it attaches to the FRONT of the upper humerus (arm bone) to pull the shoulders forward.
Very specific posture correction exercise and stretching is needed in this case to avoid continuing the Latissimus Dorsi from getting too tight, while yet stretching it at the same time.
See posture correction video explaining muscles and causes of rolled over shoulders and protruding head
Forward head is treatable
Forward head and hunched shoulders is a very common problem among us, and is considered an unattractive feature. Posture training can help the condition.