Author: Dr. Scott Allin on 1 December 2020
In a previous post I discussed a few origins of low back pain.
Today I'm going to talk about a few reasons for developing the most common cause for neck pain: anterior head carriage.
The more forward your head is in front of your body the harder your neck muscles have to work to keep your head up, which predisposes you to muscle pain. This position also forces the joints in your neck closed which decreases the available range of motion in your neck thereby leading to more rapid wear and tear in the joints of your neck.
1. Poor posture
Every day we see people with their head out in front, upper backs and
shoulders rounded, looking down at their phones or computers. Don't be
that person. When you're looking at your screen, make sure it is at
eye level and lift your chest. Your neck will thank you. For more
posture tips, see one of my previous posts.
2. Thoracic immobility
Your body moves as a functional unit. When you move your neck,
ideally, your thorax (upper back and ribcage) moves as well. If your
thorax is locked up and can't move, that puts more strain on your neck
to complete the movement. Maintaining a mobile thorax is one of the
best ways to protect your neck from injury. Thoracic immobility also
limits your back's ability to extend to sit and stand up straight,
which is essential to maintaining a neutral neck and head position.
Here is a simple exercise to keep your thorax mobile. Stand a foot
away from a smooth wall, placing your forearms on the wall shoulder
width apart elbows at ninety degrees with your palms facing each
other. Keeping your forearms on the wall, slowly push your arms
towards the ceiling as you pull your shoulder blades back and down
until your chest touches the wall. Then slowly slide your forearms
back down to the starting position and repeat eight to twelve times.
If this exercise hurts or is uncomfortable, you probably would benefit
from a treatment.
3. A History of Respiratory, Ear, Nose, or Throat Infections
Infection leads to inflammation and then adhesions in the affected
tissues. If these adhesions are present in the chest, throat, or
sinuses, the tension from these adhesions can pull your head forward.
Even if your head isn't forward, your neck muscles have to work harder
to counteract the forward pull on your head and neck to keep your neck
in neutral. Treating these adhesions often goes a long way to
improving chronic neck pain.
When we're sad, we tend to curl up into a ball and our posture can
reflect this tendency. Our emotions have a profound effect on our
bodies. COVID has taken a toll on all of us. Feeling sad, down, or
depressed is common these days. Spend time with people you like, be
outside often, listen to great music, exercise, talk to someone you
trust about how you are feeling or what you are going through. You're
not alone, it's going to be ok.
Scott Allin, RMT
Scott is currently seeing patients:
Mondays 11am - 8pm
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 10am - 7pm
Fridays will remain unavailable until further notice.
Click here to book your appointment with Scott!
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