Dr. Mike explores what poor posture solutions you have to help relieve back and neck pain.
Are you suffering from neck and upper shoulder tightness and pain? Are you finding you need more and more massages just to feel at ease? You are not alone. This is very common in today’s modern society where sitting and computer use is inevitable. But what is the cause of all this pain and tightness? Why are frequent massage therapy visits not helping? To answer these questions, we need to take a look back at the role these muscles play in our posture.
Our upper back and neck muscles perform one primary function: to keep the head upright and directly over our shoulders. When we perform daily office and computer tasks, we begin to lean our head forward. When forward head positioning lasts longer than 30 minutes, our body begins to permanently form and adapt into that new posture.
Our neck muscles are at their perfect length when the head is directly above the shoulders. When our head moves forward, our neck and upper back muscles are now lengthened and under increased tension. To picture this, grab a bowling ball, which is about the same size and weight as your head. Hold it close to your body. After a few seconds bring the ball out far in front of you and hold. Notice anything? It is much harder and heavier to hold the ball far out in front of you. If you do this for an extended amount of time, your upper body muscles will begin to tighten up and fatigue. The same thing happens with the neck muscles when our heads come forward from improper posture. People suffering from this often seek out massage therapy, which usually feels good at first, but will not fix this problem. Does it make sense to fix a problem of lengthened, tensed muscles by further stretching and lengthening them? That will allow the head to come even more forward, creating a chain reaction! It is nice to get the muscle adhesions out, but they will keep coming back unless you begin to fix the cause of your problem.
Our natural half circle neck curves are becoming straightened, and in many cases, reversed. Having a proper half circle neck curve is very important and analogous to water dams. Why are dams in the shape of a half circle? Because it helps to distribute the pressure and forces evenly within the whole structure. If the dam were straight, the dam would give way and stop working. This is the same logic in your neck. When we begin to lose our natural neck curve, the pressure starts to shift toward the front of our vertebral bodies, making degeneration and bone spurs inevitable. In fact, for every inch your head moves forward, it doubles the amount of tension in your spine. The discs also begin to degenerate and shrink with the uneven pressure load, resulting in nerve root pressure.
Here is the solution!
The logical next step is to correct the cause of the pain and problem, and the cause is your neck curve! The only way to restore a proper neck curve is through chiropractic care. Restoring the normal neck curve will allow your head to be placed in the proper position above the shoulders. Then, and only then, will the neck muscles truly begin to relax and you can return to a state of health and optimal functioning.
– Dr. Mike