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

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.


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.


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


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!!


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


The lordotic curve in the cervical spine develops during the crawling phase of infancy. I expect that babies who go directly from sitting to walking (I know of at least 2) may not develop the proper curve in the neck & some learning disabilities have also been associated with not crawling. I’m not suggesting this is your situation, but wanted to give some background re: neck curve.

I didn’t read back through this thread, so this might be repeat information: It’s unclear if FHP is a result of styloid elongation/stylohyoid ligament calcification (neck compensating for the extra calcification in the area which destabilizes soft tissues & irritates cranial nerves in the area) or if FHP is part of the cause of the styloid elongation/ligament calcification. Perhaps it can go either way. Regardless, ES does cause muscle compensations that in addition to the irritated nerves can cause terrible pain. I’m sorry you’re struggling with that.

We do have a doctor on our Doctors List who’s in your country. I don’t know if he’s close enough for you to make an appointment to see him, but if so, it would be very worthwhile. Getting your styloids removed should make a huge difference in how you’re feeling, but it does take some months after surgery for symptoms to slowly go away.

•Prof.Dr. Khabiruddin Ahmed, Bangladesh ENT Hospital Ltd.,
E-mail :,
Appointment : +88 01717-250667, 02-9137324

1 Like


Thank you for taking the time to reply and provide insights. If calcified styloids were actually causing FHP, do you know anyone here that was able to resolve this and get their curve back?

@vdm, one of our long time members was successful in getting his neck curve back by doing exercises. He posted extensively about that in several posts on our forum. Here are two links to get you started, but if you search “military neck”, many posts come up that discuss it.

A helpful quote as well:

[quote=“vdm, post:18, topic:10052, full:true”]
My alleged line of thought is that styloid anomalies might have developed to prevent the head from bending down (“nodding”) too much at the occipital/C1 level, in case there is something wrong with the occipital muscles (Suboccipital triangle - Wikipedia ) and/or any other ligaments/muscles that are supposed to act as “stoppers”.
Straight neck (aka military neck, loss or neck lordosis, neck kyphosis, flat neck Military Neck: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment) might be result of many factors, including reversible ones (poor posture, weak muscles and so on).
What I’ve been also suspecting, that some physios/doctors don’t take into account that the straight neck perhaps indicates imbalance problems with muscles in the neck (some are too long, some are too short, some are too strong, some are too weak), and when they give exercises like “chin-tucks”, they ignore that the strongest muscles will likely take majority of the action in that movement, and just get stronger, while the weak muscles/stuck vertebrae will remain weak/stuck.
In my humble opinion, a good neck/spine physio/kinesitherapist might help to gently and slowly restore the neck curve over the time, which might move the styloids away from the C1. I wish I had a flexible skeleton model to show what I mean, but I guess you can imagine.


Thank you again for the insight. I am given this a good look. All doctors here just want to do is put me on muscle relaxants and say it will go away. Ive been on them for 3 weeks, nothing changed. Currently looking to strengthen the trap and levator scap. But everything is sore and hurting. I will into everything again.

Also the last quote makes me feel like its my body response to muscle imbalance and I should not take the styloids out!

There have been some discussions about whether the styloids grow to strengthen the neck if it’s unstable, members with CCI have differing findings after surgery so no consensus I think.

@Jebin - As @Merl mentioned in another thread, it’s worthwhile trying all the non-surgical approaches & save surgery as a last effort. If you find that therapies & medications don’t help & you can’t live with your symptoms, then it’s time to take a harder look at surgery as a potential cure.


For me I started to have ES symptoms after I started bending my head forward in the hope if avoiding cervical hinging.

At some point I was using cervical pillow covers for curve correction and it felt like my symptoms were getting better


It was quite fun to go back and re-read my old posts from two years ago…

So I expressed a wish to have a flexible skeleton model at hand to show what I meant. And, as the time went, I found one (see a few posts above).

Over those few years, my understanding of biodynamics kept improving and changing, but the main point is that I find more and more convincing that all the biomechanics might contribute to not only Eagle’s syndrome (which is SYMPTOMATIC elongated styloid processes/calcifications, as opposed to ASYMPTOMATIC ones), but a lot of other rare and common conditions, including TOS, C5/6/7 intervertebral disc issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, AC and GH joint degeneration, and a zillion of other things… I wish I knew about these things a decade or so ago… Our bodies are so interesting and so sophisticated, though lot of us tend to ignore it and use our bodies only for very basic movements… It’s like having a Swiss knife and using it only to peel apples.


Nice analogy, @vdm! I have the pocket size version of that knife which I’ve carried around in my purse/backpack for years & never used at all. I did get it confiscated at the airport once because I forgot I had it w/ me. :crazy_face: :joy:

Hey vdm,

What do you suggest we do as a conservative treatment plan?

I was just about to create a thread about conservative treatment and here is my unfinished draft below… I’m going to start following a program called Simplistic mobility method by a guy called Tom Morrison and see where that takes me as a foundation but would love to hear your thoughts on adjuncts or alternatives.

"Come on friends, there has to be a major biomechanical cause and conservative treatment for this condition. Surely if a decent portion of peeps are getting surgeries and then symptoms return months/years later, they’re just repeating the same behavioural/postural patterns that got themselves into this position in the first place. Let’s put some ideas together, extra brownie points the more plausible your theory sounds! :wink:

So just present your cause and treatment plan, try and explain your theory as best as you can. Just do your best and leave the rest as they say! Please copy this simple format below…


Treatment plan:


Chronic stress/pain and/or weak lower/mid body strength > poor posture habits, dysfunctional chest breathing patterns, chronic muscle clenching > overuse of neck accessory muscles such as the SCM & Scalenes > weakening/tightening of these muscles + forward translation of C1 TP from shortening of levator scapula and weakening of deep neck flexors. Because these upper cervical muscles are taking on too many duties/load, they provide less stability to the cervical spine so the hyoid musculature has to come to the rescue to take on more load to help stabilise the cervical spine, thus leading to inevitable weakening/tightening of these muscles > compression of jugular veins/carotid space.

Treatment plan:

I think mobility exercises to help correct biomechanical imbalances and to provide more core and lower body stability are a solid start as a foundation for this condition. So again to identify if you have imbalance in your hips, knees, how your feet are positioned, etc. I’d bet that a large portion of us with this condition have poor mobility, or at the very least poor postural/stress/muscle clenching habits.

Also loss of lordosis from weakened rhomboids, upper trap and posterior neck muscles could be playing a significant part too…

I’m only at the start of my journey of doing mobility exercises, but the more I do it the more I realise that mobility exercises are so so important for general health, let alone recovery from these sort of conditions. So I think we need to lengthen, strengthen and stabilise the lower, mid and upper body by doing various mobility exercises that strengthen the posterior then after around 3 months you can start thinking about gently doing mobility/stren exercises for neck."


Good thinking! :smiley:


@jimjammer123 so I’m in agreement with the idea that mobility is one of the critical components of getting rid of the pain and other symptoms.
I’d also add that in my opinion it’s very important to have proper scapular mobility so that the whole ribcage wouldn’t be stiff.
But as always, there are three caveats: one, the elongated styloid processes might make mobility exercises so painful (my own personal experience) that one cannot effectively do them without causing various muscle going into protective spasm. Another thing, elongated styloid processes might increase one’s risk of stroke, which again might be more prevalent among those doing various extended range neck movements…
The last but not least, some people have a lot of comorbidities and the underlying cause might be EDS/hEDS/hypermobility. These people might actually have too much of mobility here or there, and thus they should exercise caution when doing any stretching/mobility exercises.

These are just my points and personal opinion - usual disclaimer, I’m not a doctor nor medical specialist.