Question for those with military/straight neck (loss of cervical lordosis)

Crazy positioning. I should have known better than to say something w/ all the work you’ve done to correct your posture, you’re probably the posture poster child by now!! I’m aiming for that title myself. :rofl:


So there is a thing called clivo-axial angle.

When it’s too low (normal is typically >150 degrees in neutral), there is a risk to compress the spinal cord. The CXA angle of course is different in flexion/extension.

Here is an interesting presentation on CCI mentioning importance of clivo-axial angle. And on general, that’s a one cool presentation I found on one of the FB groups.

My theory suggests that loss of cervical lordosis caused by loss of upper thoracic mobility also significantly increases use of C0-C1 for flexion (because the other segments of the spine don’t flex so much anymore), which in some cases may increase irritation, inflammation, leading to calcification of various ligaments (and possibly leading to the :eagle: syndrome).

Also, the military neck in standing or supine position would possibly decrease the CXA (not going to the details here, but if you imagine a skeleton with a straight neck caused by the straight(er) thoracic spine vs a skeleton with normal curves, you probably will realise that the head of the “normal” skeleton is slightly protruded forward in comparison to the “straight” skeleton simply to maintain the balance. Not talking here about forward-head posture which is another extreme)

Tomorrow I will check how my CXA changed over time. I believe I have neck MRIs from 2014 and then every two years or so, maybe x-rays too.

Upd:forgot to mention. I suspect that eventually elongated styloid processes may lead to increased translation of the clivus on the C0 because the styloids, ramming into the C0’s transverse processes, prevent the normal horizontally rotational movement of the C0-C1 and start acting as a lever causing translational movement. And that increased translation would cause some of the effects mentioned in the presentation above…

P.S. Of course I’m not a doc, and these are pure speculations.

Other resources


You continue to confirm through your research how intricately our bodies are put together & with what precision, @vdm. It’s truly awe inspiring & near miraculous that our bodies work as well & for as long as they do w/ so much potential for “parts failure”.

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THANK YOU so much for all your research! You really seem to be onto things and I am grateful you are willing to share what you are learning. All of your input is so helpful for me as I have just had my second styloid/jugular decompression surgery two weeks ago and have also recently been diagnosed with AAI.

I would love to know if you are currently doing any specific exercises for your military neck? Thank you again and I hope you are having a good week!

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So my CXA seems to be a bit tricky to find because… The clivus is unusually shaped. Like a raindrop. But it kind of varies between 145 and 150.

Hi @Eagle1

Well, unfortunately for the specific exercise isn’t that simple with me… I just try to listen to my body, see what might be wrong and do slight gradual adjustments there by various stretches…

If you are keen to see my “toolkit”, it’s here


Thank you!


Okay. Before the bilateral styloidectomy I was unable to laterally flex my neck. The styloids would stab into the tissue and cause pain, inflammation, and more pain.

Since the surgery… I realised that I can do it. Flexing the neck laterally still hurts but … It hurts differently. More muscular pain/ache than stabbing/pulling pain.

After two weeks of lateral flexes ant gentle side rolls on the pillow, I noticed that my scalene muscles are getting more and more relaxed.

It seems that my theory about scalene and other neck muscles spasming so that they could hold the head in the least affected/painful position does work after all…


Good observations, @vdm! Thx for sharing them.

Another important diagram that shows the muscles contributing to stiff spine, neck, shoulders, ribcage, military neck, forward head posture, and pulling the head backwards thus increasing tension on IJVs, carotid arteries etc.

They easily can get stiff if one spends long hours prone, leaning on elbows or one elbow with head up and scrolling for hours.


Great anatomical image & explanation of its relevance. Much appreciation @vdm!

I think this is a golden post that shows what happens to the spine in various postures with phone and in general.

In particular, I want to highlight the following pictures that show how different the angle of the head against the cervical spine can be in these two postures, and as the result, how styloid processes move further away from the spine and give more space to everything in between when the neck is in “military” stance. So it seems if the styloid processes start growing at wrong angle, they can stimulate formation of the military neck, in my opinion.


HI @vdm, thank you for posting all your detailed observations, thoughts and research re muscle compression, posture and compression issues… I can’t atm read everything you’ve written due to symptoms but have skimmed through… I don’t know if you are in the UK? Have found a decent / knowledgeable / helpful physio? I am currently seeing Jeannie di Bon rehab specialist and Rob Patterson physio specialist at The Cherington Practice.

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I’m unfortunately not in the UK, but Jeannie di Bon videos are really good in my opinion, especially for those with hypermobility, and in general they are great about movement dynamics, low intensity exercises and so on. Does she have something like a physiotherapy studio/clinic?


Hi @vdm, Jeannie does online consultation for people all over the world if you need/want. She is great at helping to calm the whole nervous system and relax tight muscles and try to gently move the right muscles! …but I’ve also seen Rob Patterson PT in Bristol UK who specialises in TOS and it very knowledgeable about poss compression of TOS area that can be caused by poor posture/ weak muscles / wrong activation of muscles for certain activities… he had said to me that sometimes TOS can cause headaches too - ie mimics Eagles symptoms… I do wonder if poor blood flow from eagles stuff starts off TOS happening tho… hoping to see both of them soon for more support…


If the thoracic/lumbar spine flexibility is lost, and the person still tries to achieve the same range of flexion/extension (by themselves, with the help of chiropractors or in wome other way), guess where that flexibility must come from?

I suspect that might be one of the reasons why military neck develops.

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That made me feel bad watching the head flex so much :astonished: Mine hasn’t done that in years, probably since the whiplash injury!

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That’s quite a video! I never considered that the spine has that big of a range of motion! I agree w/ Jules on the neck extension! That looks like a whiplash injury happening at it’s most extreme moment!!

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Nicked this one from one of the Facebook groups:


What about people who’s T spine is not hyperextended and rather is in hypoextension, that is, losing curve. Ive tried to many exercises yet the msucles don’t let go and my neck is just straight. Ive had an appointment with MSK neuro guy and he says its because the muscles are weak. He asked me to train the traps and levetor scap and shoulder. I have been doing so but its difficult especially with the e styloids. (Just found out, he recommeded those thinking I have TOS).

And as for posture, I have had a FHP since childhood, Idky. Like if someone tried to correct it, it would hurt and I cant even breathe properly without my head a little forward. One thing lead to another and here I am. At 28, I feel like I am 68