Therapy Thursday: Neck Pain
Meet the Author:
Hey everybody, my name is Glenn. I am a licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Functional Movement Screen specialist, and a certified personal trainer through American College of Sports Medicine and American Council of Exercise. I have been helping people alleviate pain for over 10 years. The best way to reach me for questions and consultation is by phone at 440-477-6167.
Today I want to talk to you about neck pain. I know most of you have neck pain and if you don’t, you just don’t know it yet. Like most Americans, we sit for an extended part of the day, whether it is driving, sitting at a desk, on the phone or on the computer. When we sit for an extended period of time, we tend to put ourselves in a poor, forward posture.
As a part of this poor posture, we lean our head forward which puts extra stress on our neck to hold it up. So now our anterior (front) neck muscles (the scalenes) are tight and, on top of that, the chin is tilted up so we create a sheer force on the vertebra and displace the first rib. Along with all of that fun stuff, the forward head position places more stress on the neck to hold it up. Your head weighs about 10 lbs. For every inch forward of the neutral position, it increases 10 lbs. While sitting, not in perfect posture, we tend to be 3-4 inches forward of neutral posture.
So, what can we do about this? Well, let me tell you. One easy thing you can do, even while you are sitting at work, scoot to the edge of your chair and get yourself in a good posture. Sit tall, put one hand behind your back, grab it with the other hand and pull it down. Now tilt your head the opposite way of the arm you are pulling down. After that just move your head side to side to find where it hurts the most. Just hang out in the bad spots for a couple minutes and this will help loosen up those tight anterior muscles. WARNING: This is going to hurt but it will be worth it.
Another great tip is very simple and very effective. It will help alleviate a few other problems too, so it is a nice bonus for you. Just lay on the floor with your feet up on a couch, chair or something a little higher than knee height. Have your knees stacked over your hips so your knee and hip joint are at a 90 degree angle. Lay with your hands on your belly or at your side with palms facing up. This puts your neck and back in perfect posture by using gravity to put it there. This will help realign your neck and let it relax. Do your homework and take care of that neck.