The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Is Your Drinking Hurting Your Neck?

A reader sent me this Hauku:

Like a Bonsai Tree
Your terrible posture at
My dinner table

The photo above shows an injurious positioning called "a forward head." A forward head position presses cervical (neck) discs outward, causes upper back and neck pain often called "upper crossed" syndrome, and can press the nerve going down the arm, leading to arm pain and hand/finger numbness. Jutting the chin upward with the neck forward can, over time, create a spondylolisthesis (vertebral shifting). Raising the arm with the shoulder rounded and the neck forward adds to shoulder and rotator cuff injury.

Check yourself for a forward head position when eating and drinking (and on the phone):

  • Corner of the jaw is far forward of the shoulder
  • Neck tilts forward
  • Jaw juts forward
  • Neck pinches backward, with high compressive force
  • Shoulder rounded

Don't round your back or jut your chin forward. Instead, keep chin in when you eat and drink and talk on the phone. To look upward, get the upward motion more from straightening your upper back, and not from one joint in your neck. The neck is not a hinge joint.

Don't rely on, "Keep ear over shoulder" thinking that is straight posture. You can see in the photo that the ear is over the shoulder, but the neck is craned badly.

Use healthful positioning for built-in upper body muscle exercise and easy pain prevention. Check yourself sideways in a mirror. Watch other people eating and drinking for an easy reminder. Happy Holidays.

For More Healthy Neck Motion:

Photo © copyright Dr. Jolie Bookspan of student

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.