How to ease that pain in the neck

 

Welcome to my blog! Here we will take a dive in to common issues that we all have and why I believe the IMS approach is extremely effective in helping you to help yourself.

This week we are discussing your neck. Often, clients will come in feeling tight or experiencing discomfort or pain in their neck, and I'm not talking about the type which tis caused by another human :)

 

Neck discomfort, be it tightness or pain, can be debilitating and can have a real effect on your ability to do daily tasks. like glancing over your shoulder before changing lanes when driving.

There may be something you do on purpose, or just out of habit that could be making that neck discomfort worse. This action or habit may even be driving it.

We have found that there are a few common posture corrections we use in life, or while working out, that while being done with the best of intentions, may contribute to neck issues.

Do you recognize any of these "cues"?

  1.  When you feel you are slouching, you sit or stand up 'straight'.
  2. When you are going to lift something, your pull your shoulder back and down.
  3. You may also use the above if you are slouching or feel like your shoulders forward or rounded.

So let's take a quick look at how these cues can be contributing to your neck problems.

  1. When we stand or sit up straight, we often will lift our chest. The lifting of the chest compresses our upper back or thoracic spine, thus making it feel tight. 
  2. When we pull the shoulders back and down, we pull on muscles that attach from our neck to our shoulders. In optimal movement, we want our arms and our shoulder blades (scapula) to move together. We want the scapula to move and wrap around the rib cage to create better stability in the shoulder joint. But when we pull the scapula down and back, we are actually making them move in the opposite direction in which they need to go!

Below is a picture of one muscle that attaches from our neck to our shoulder blade, the Levator Scapula. You can see how it connects from the top of your shoulder blade to the side of your neck.

 

When we pull our shoulder blades down and back, the muscle will pull tight like a rubber band on a stretch. Just like when you stretch out a rubber band, there is always a force that wants to come back against your fingers. Imagine that force on your neck, no wonder it's hurting!

NOW TRY THES CUES INSTEAD!

  1. When sitting, change your pelvis position to sit upon your SITS bones, which is the broadest, most supportive part for sitting. Sitting or standing 'think length' from the back of your head towards the ceiling lengthen and decompress the spine versus compressing by lifting the chest.
  2. For your rounded shoulders, "think" length along your collar bones out to the tips of shoulders. This cue will support your shoulder joints in their natural best-aligned position for moving or lifting.

These simple yet, powerful cues can change your life if you use them. When you use them in conjunction with the ABC's of the Integrative Movement System, your body will thank you.

We hope this gave you some valuable information and quick, easy tips to take the pressure off that pain you feel in your neck. If you believe this will help someone you know, be sure to pass it along, and if you have questions or would like more information on how to use these strategies in your everyday life or while exercising, please be sure to reach out.