Neck pain is one of the most common issues Chiropractors help with – this week, we’ll discover the link between posture and neck pain!
Neck pain is one of the most common issues Chiropractors help with – common causes include conditions such as stenosis, injuries and referred pain from other spinal and nerve conditions. You might be shocked, however, to learn that none of these are the most frequent cause of neck pain – the true culprit is far less dramatic, it’s poor posture!
The neck is an especially delicate part of the body – it’s tasked with supporting the weight of the head all day – can you imagine how tired your arms would get from carrying a bag of shopping around all day? The same basic principle goes for the neck! Of course, the neck is designed to take the weight, however, it has evolved to do this based on the assumption that the weight of of the head presses down through the supportive structures of the neck and spine – when we adopt a poor posture, we mess with this natural balance, often leading to neck pain. Let’s take a look a the most common problems.
Forward Head Posture
The “forward head” posture has become so common today that we barely even notice it – leaning your head forward, often due to prolonged screen time or desk work, can strain neck muscles and alter the natural curve of your spine. This leads to increased pressure on the cervical spine, leading to muscle imbalances, headaches, and chronic neck pain.
Rounded shoulders often come with the forward head – habitual slouching or hunching over a desk contributes to rounded shoulders, placing stress on the neck and, this time, extending the strain to the upper back. Over time, this can contribute to altered shoulder mechanics, leading to muscle tightness, reduced mobility, and neck discomfort.
Constantly looking down at smartphones or devices can result in an increased forward angle of the neck, known as “text neck.” – This is very similar to the forward head, but often more extreme since most of us tend to hold our devices relatively low, and close to the body. Text neck causes added stress on the cervical spine, contributing to neck pain, headaches, and potential long-term structural changes.
Whereas issues like text neck are a consequence of modern life, there’s no escaping that many of us are just lazy when it comes to posture – slouching might be somewhat comfortable for a while, but when it becomes a habit it can cause issues. Prolonged periods of sitting with poor posture can lead to a rounded spine, placing undue stress on the neck and upper back. This leads to weakened supporting muscles, increased pressure on spinal discs, and a heightened risk of neck pain.
Many of us like to sit with crossed legs, this can be comfortable, comforting or just a stylistic thing – however, prolonged sitting with crossed legs can lead to an uneven pelvis and spinal misalignment. In turn, this promotes unequal weight distribution, causing strain on one side of the body, often leading to neck and back discomfort.
How can we fix it?
Thankfully, when neck pain is caused by poor posture it’s easy to make small but impactful changes to improve the situation. Understanding and correcting these common posture problems can significantly contribute to preventing and alleviating neck pain – Incorporate regular breaks, ergonomic adjustments, and targeted exercises into your routine to foster a healthier posture- some key tips include:
- Be mindful of keeping your head aligned with your spine. Regular breaks and neck stretches can alleviate tension.
- Focus on maintaining a neutral spine and incorporating exercises to strengthen the upper back and shoulder muscles.
- Hold devices at eye level whenever possible and take breaks to stretch and realign the neck.
- Practice good sitting posture with a straight spine and utilize ergonomic chairs or cushions to support your lower back.
- Sit with both feet flat on the ground, promoting a balanced pelvis and reducing the risk of neck pain.
Of course, if neck pain continues or you’re looking for some help relieving the symptoms more quickly, Chiropractic might be just the ticket! Chiropractic care has a strong track record in reducing neck pain – however, there’s a caveat. Chiropractic is not a miracle cure – an adjustment might help to reduce your pain now but if you go right back to the same habits you can bet it will return. Instead, at Complete Chiropractic, we focus on alleviating your pain and helping you make those small changes which will keep neck pain at bay.