In a sample of 20 adults the associations between cervical lordosis, craniocervical inclination, position of the hyoid bone and cross-sectional dimensions of the pharyngeal airway were studied. Lateral skull radiographs were obtained in natural head posture and also at 20 degrees extension with the subjects' teeth in the intercuspal position. Cervical lordosis was measured from the second to the sixth vertebra and the position of the hyoid bone was calculated in horizontal and vertical directions. The dimensions of the free airway were measured between the dorsal tongue surface and the posterior pharyngeal wall and at the level of the second and fourth vertebra. A change from natural head posture to 20 degrees extension resulted in an increase in cervical lordosis and craniocervical inclination, changed position of the hyoid bone and increased cross-sectional dimensions of the pharyngeal airway. The changes in lordosis produced by changing natural head posture to 20 degrees extension showed significant correlations with the size of changed craniocervical inclination and free airway.