Repeated poor posture and body mechanics causes more of a forward head posture. Neck and back pain are common with a forward head posture because of the increased rounding of the upper back muscles which stretches and weakens them. The muscles on the front of the body (neck, front of chest), become tight and weak. This scenario sets up a very typical pattern where the muscles on the top of the shoulders will overwork during arm movement instead of utilizing the muscles in the upper back(between the shoulder blades).
In order for muscles to work properly, they need to have enough length to contract and relax. Here is a quick outline of steps to eliminate neck and upper back pain.
1. Myofascial Stretching to increase mobility of the muscle on the front of the body.
*foam roll stretches
*Postural correction exercises
**All of these exercises can be found in the resource section of our website.
2. Practice correct body mechanics while doing your daily activities. This includes work and home activities. In the class, we reviewed the proper mechanics for lifting the arms over head to activate the correct muscles.
3. Proper sitting posture-
Slumped sitting causes a rounded trunk and compressed lower spine causing neck and back pain. It also contributes to hamstring tightness which limits pelvic mobility. Try to have more of your weight balanced on your sit bones with your hips, knees, and ankles at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. This allows your spine, neck and head to come to a more neutral position.
4. Proper breathing-
Shallow breathing activates the upper neck muscles which are ultimately inefficient for good oxygenation of our muscles. constant use of the upper neck muscles for breathing causes them to tighten and create painful trigger points.
4. Appropriate Strengthening-
It is important to start at the level that is appropriate for your current strength. Exercising in a painful range causes more inflammation and reduces the benefit of exercise.
Last but not least, it is very important to correct muscle imbalances with Myofascial Release. Many people think that exercise is the answer for getting rid of pain in any part of the body. However, if you exercise a muscle imbalance, you generally will strengthen that imbalance with an end result of increasing the pain. Myofascial Release is one of the best tools for correcting muscle imbalances and restoring proper length to muscles making your exercise productive, efficient and pain-free.
So many people suffer with neck and back pain that can be easily eliminated with this information. Please share this information and video with any of your friends and family that deal with neck and back pain. Post a comment on our blog and let us know how the exercises and video work for you.
Jody Hendryx, PT, LMT