Why does our posture affect our neck?
It is extremely common for neck pain to have a direct relationship with poor posture. When the alignment of the head and spine is out of line, the neck is more prone to injury. Often this mal-alignment is due to the effects of wear and tear over time, poor posture due to work place ergonomics and repetition of action with poor posture.
One of the most common imbalances between the spine and the neck is due to the nature of our work lives and time spent at the computer and tablets. This bad habit results in an increased rolled forward head posture. Chronic or recurrent neck pain can be severely debilitating and often accompanied by upper back pain, scapulae pain and headaches. These symptoms, along with tight neck muscles and stiff joints, can make even the simplest daily activities painful for our patients.
The most common condition that contributes to neck pain is a forward head and rounded shoulder posture.
Excessive Forward Head Position Can Lead to Several Problems…
- The forward pull of the weight of the head puts undue stress on the vertebrae of the lower neck. This contributes to degenerative disc disease and other degenerative neck problems.
- This posture causes the muscles of the upper back to continually overwork to counterbalance the pull of gravity on the forward head.
- This position is often accompanied by forward shoulders and a rounded upper back. This not only feeds into the neck problem but can also cause shoulder pain.
- Long term abnormal neck posture leads to muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis, nerve irritation and instability. The pressure on the neck from altered posture can cause this to occur.
How you can improve your posture related neck pain?
You can correct your posture simply when standing or sitting, by doing the following 4 things:
Adjusting your pelvis to roll forwards slightly
Lifting your chest gently
Nodding your chin slightly
Relaxing your shoulders.
How can physiotherapy help you?
An expert physiotherapist can identify where your posture is weak. They can then provide you with some simple advice to achieve and maintain a pain free posture.
6 hot tips for better posture and reducing neck pain…
1. Ensure your workstation is set up to help you sit properly. Speak to one of our physios to organise a work place or office assessment.
2. Stretch and change position frequently while you are working as per instructions from our physios.
3. Try not to sleep on your stomach, which overextends your neck.
4. Choose a supportive pillow for neck support while you sleep. If unsure of what type suits your body best, please speak to a physiotherapist or someone who is an expert in the area.
5. Combat the muscle-tightening effects of stress with relaxation techniques.
6. Exercise regularly to improve muscle tone and posture.
You’ve got neck pain, so what next?
An appropriate postural assessment can address many of the symptoms that come with neck pain. It will also prevent recurrence or worsening of the condition. Do you or someone you know suffer from neck pain that you believe may be referred from poor posture? Contact your physio today!