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Why is Neck Posture Important
Your neck muscles do many actions everyday. For example:
Believe it or not there are exercises that one can do to strengthen the neck muscles.
Neck posture is very important. Bad neck posture can cause neck muscles to be strained, especially if this neck posture is chronic. Also doing something that would cause your neck to be in a compromised position can cause a stiff neck, tight shoulder muscles and a trapezius that hurts at the gentlest touch.
Having Proper Posture can Aid in Neck Pain Relief
In the last few years computers have become a part of everyday life. This new age of high tech has come with its share of maladies: People whose jobs require them to sit for prolonged periods of time in one position- often at the computer. This type of a position can put a lot of stress on the cervical spine including tight muscles, stiff neck and other neck pain. Simply by adhering to a few rules about how to set up your workstation can make a big difference in having neck pain relief.
"Deviations in the body's center of gravity caused poor posture, which resulted in intestinal problems, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, osteoporosis, hip and foot deformities, poor health, decreased quality of life, and a shortened life span."
-Freeman JT., Posture in the Aging and Aged Body, JAMA 1957; 165(7), pp 843-846 JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)
What Should be the Proper Position of Your Neck?
Sitting at a desk, interacting with a computer and telephone can put a lot of stress on your neck. We can combat certain postures, there would be a lot of happier people with less neck pain at the end of the day. When working at a computer desk keep in mind these two points about the position of your neck:
Why is the C Curve in the Neck So Important?
Your body works through a central computer. This computer is the brain. Essentially, messages travel from the brain down your spinal cord, and out the nerves to all parts of the body. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain. When our spine is in our normal, relaxed position, everything is working. Now, if we take out any curvature in the spine, we have a problem. This would be analogous to taking a relaxed rubber band and elongating it until you feel the resistance.
"Loss of Cervical Curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes disease"
-Dr.A.Brieg, Neuro-Surgeon (Nobel Prize Receipent)
So, a nice “C” curve in the cervical spine equals a relaxed spinal cord. Elongating it out straight equals tension. This tension causes stress to the cord, and therefore inhibits nervous system function, which leads to neck problems. Many of us automatically think pain!, but this isn’t always the case. Neck issues or problems may mean headache, it may mean arm pain, maybe even mid-back problems. There are many unfortunate possibilities. The severity of the neck issue may depend on the amount of tension on the cord or tension on the nerves. Dr. Brieg actually won the Nobel Prize years ago because he proved how the loss of cervical curve can stretch the cord 5-7 cm and cause disease.
Forward Head Posture is A Common Neck Posture
Forward head posture, also known as forward head carriage is a common neck posture that is seen quite a bit, but often overlooked in terms of a cause for neck pain. Check your neck posture: To analyze your own head and neck, look at your side profile in the mirror or have someone else look at it. Do you ears align with your shoulders? Normal head posture is when the ears should be directly above the shoulders. Believe it not, your head weighs approximately 8 lbs. If your ears and shoulders align this 8 lb weight is balanced and causes minimal stress on the neck spine. If you have forward head posture, it can put a lot of stress on the cervical spine joints, and cervical nerves such as C6, and C7. Over time, this can lead to arthritis and degenerative changes to the cervical spine. The lower neck is where the nerves exit that innervates your neck muscles, upper back and shoulders, arms and hands. These degenerative changes in the lower neck can cause numbness and tingling in the arms and hands. Forward head posture can be one reason for neck pain, stiff neck or tight neck muscles.
For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.
-Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3
FHP aka Forward Head Posture
How often have you seen a person whose head just sticks out, to the point that their head is way over their body, to the point that "something" looks abnormal? This is called forward head posture, or anterior head carriage? According to Kapandji (author of Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every one inch that your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned. This means that they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping onto your chest. This also forces the suboccipital muscles (they raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 Suboccipital nerves. This nerve compression is one reason that many people suffer from headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus headaches that are located in the front.
Forward head carriage that is chronic (also known as hyperkyphotic neck posture) puts compressive loads upon the upper thoracic vertebra (your mid back bones), and is also associated with the development of Upper Thoracic Hump, which can devolve into Dowager Hump when the vertebra develop compression fractures (anterior wedging).
One way to work on forward head carriage is to do exercises that involve bringing your head back and holding it there in that position for 30 seconds to one minute. A posture pulley neck excercise device can help with getting rid of forward head carriage.
At the Neck Pain Support Blog, we have dedicated many posts to helping you have a healthier neck. One of our posts, entitled, Strengthening Your Neck Muscles for Better Health shows you exercises that you can do at home to make your neck muscles stronger.
The neck exercises below combine range of motion (ROM) against light/partial resistance in 4 directions (forwards, backwards, and left side bending and right side bending). This work on the four ranges of motion of the cervical spine:
Your workstation and optimal neck position go hand in hand
So you have to work right? So make your workstation as comfortable as you can. At the end of the day you will have minimal neck pain, and stiffness. Here are some key points for maintaining a no neck pain zone:
Sitting with Good Posture at the Computer: Neck Pain Relief
Neck Exercises and the Importance of Moving Your Neck
Our neck has the ability to flex forward, backward, turn and bend to the side. Pretty amazing !. Compared to the lower back, the neck has more range of motion: Lets compare range of motion in the cervical and lumbar spine:
As you can see our cervical spine range of motion is far greater than the lumbar range of motion. The importance of moving your neck, and doing neck stretches can be emphasized enough. NeckPainReliefKit.com presents important neck exercises, so you can keep your cervical spine in the best shape possible.
Happy President's Day!!
Enjoy 10% off all orders over $100 (use discount code NPR10) for the Month of February 2014. Happy President's Day from the Neck Pain Relief Shop !!!!
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