Need to get rid of a big pain in the neck?
Bad news...I woke up with a painful kink in the right side of my neck on last Monday. Did I sleep wrong? Bad pillow? No...misalignment.
Good news...Monday, unlike 6 years ago, I knew what to do to get rid of the kink. I didn't go buy a new pillow or mattress, I didn't get an adjustment. I simply did my postural exercises (some of which are listed below) for two days and the pain and discomfort of looking side to side is totally gone. Thanks for the great exercises Pete Egoscue!
Ask yourself why you have neck pain and maybe even write down the cause(s) - (real or perceived) - of your pain.
I've learned a lot about my own neck pain (and other physical pain) over the past six years and what I've come to understand is vastly different from what I originally thought. You can read in my post "My story...Your story?" all about the neck pain I was experiencing and my path to healing.
What people have told me about their neck pain
- It's hereditary, my dad/mom/grandparent always had issues with________
- I have Osteoarthritis
- My bed and pillows are causing my neck pain
- My work station is awful
What I've learned about pain and posture
- Our posture has far more to do with our pain than anything listed above
- Ex: Is your head in a forward position or does your ear line up over your shoulder?
- Ex: Are your shoulders rounded forward from sitting at a computer or driving all day?
- Misalignment of joints, caused by compensating or dysfunctional muscles, causes pain
- Posture is typically hereditary based on doing what you saw & learned (walk with feet out or bent stance) more often than being born with poor posture. Just look at baby pictures of yourself when you first learned to stand or walk and note the position of your feet, shoulders, head and hands...my guess is that you had pretty good posture at one point
- Pete Egoscue says, form follows function, meaning that what you see, looking at your posture is a result of what is or isn't happening correctly from the inside out
- Pete also says your bones do what your muscles tell them to do, so for the person with osteoarthritis...we have great news! Fix the muscular compensations and dysfunctions and see your osteoarthritis dissipate.
- Katy Bowman, who holds a Masters in Biomechanics & whose writings I have recently started studying says "osteoarthritis is not a disease (like rheumatoid arthritis), but is damage caused by user induced friction of the joint"...in other-words, the way we (users) move (friction) due to compensation and dysfunction has caused the joint damage and can be reversed by reducing or eliminating the friction on the joint
- Reduce friction on your joints by retraining your muscles to work as they were originally designed to work through gentle corrective exercises (a few freebies below!)
- Right shoes (sadly those without any heel) are helpful in regaining right posture and reducing pain throughout the body...with that said, I still wear heels, just not daily!
- A family friend recently said Motion is Lotion and I agree...as long as it is correct motion!
A few exercises to help re-introduce correct motion:
Let me share a few exercises that should help ease the pain caused by postural deviations. These should help release tightness along your posterior chain...backside of your body, which should give you some relief from your neck pain.
These exercises are not your typical stretch the neck exercises. We are working on addressing the root of your problem, not the symptom (neck pain).
These exercises are not medical advice and you should consider consulting your Dr before performing them.
Sitting Floor: 3 Minute Hold
Sitting Floor promotes spinal extension while limiting the rotation ability of your hips, knees and ankles. Spinal extension is the opposite of what most of us do sitting at a desk or in a car.
- Sit against a wall with your legs straight out in front of you
- Your buttocks and upper back should be against the wall the entire time
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold
- Do not lift the shoulders; only squeeze them back and down
- Tighten the thighs and flex the feet back so that your toes are pointing back toward you
- The keys are to keep your blades pulled together, your thighs tight and your feet flexed back
Static Wall: Hold 4 Minutes
Static Wall promotes spinal extension while limiting the rotation ability of your hips, knees and ankles. Again, spinal extension is the opposite of what most of us do sitting at a desk or in a car.
- Lie on your back with your legs pointed straight up and against the wall, upper body relaxed with arms out to sides at about 45 degrees and palms facing up
- When getting into this position, get your hips as close as possible to the wall, so once you are in position your butt is also as close as possible to the wall
- If your hips are lifting off the floor then scoot your butt back until you are able to place your hips flat. As you get more functional, your hips will sit closer to the wall and be flat on the floor at the same time
- In this position tighten your thighs and pull your toes down and back toward you
- Your feet must be pointed straight for your hips to properly do the needed work to stabilize your spine
Frog promotes lumbar / pelvic extension.
- Lie on your back with your arms at your side, palms up, and hands relaxed
- Place the soles of your feet together
- Center your feet along the mid-line of your body and let your knees relax down to the sides
- Do not press your knees/ legs to the ground. Just let gravity pull them down
Do you feel better?
I hope this information helped you to understand how your posture relates any pain you may be experiencing. Every person is different and the exercises that best fit each person vary. If these don't give you a great deal of relief, a postural evaluation will help us better understand the root of your pain and create an individualized set of exercises to help you feel better by realigning your body!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me! Call or email us today to set up your your postural evaluation and let’s find out what the root of your problem is and get you on the road to recovery!