Louisville, Plattsmouth & Hooper Ne 68031

Neck Pain and Posture

September 6, 2022

Studies show that approximately 75% of the world’s population will suffer from neck pain at some stage in their life. Studies also show that up to 50% of those people with neck pain may never get full relief. This is a staggering number of citizens that are dealing with this type of discomfort on a daily basis. You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “I am one of them”.  With advances in technology over the past couple decades, a decline in postural awareness has prevailed. We don’t pay as much attention to how we are sitting as we scroll through our phones or the position of our spine while we slump on the couch playing video games.

Having been through a pandemic recently, many of us have transitioned to work-from-home positions with our companies. While this may sound great in theory, there are many factors with home offices that may be detrimental to our overall spine health as well. Whether it be improper desk height, poor seating, or decreased back support, posture when working for prolonged hours is a key player in how our neck functions on a daily basis.

Many of us choose to turn to doctors when neck pain occurs, which could lead to expensive imaging, medications, injections, or even surgery. All of these can be great options, but they are quite invasive and can cause your wallet to take a hit. Before jumping right into these pricey “cures”, let’s take a look at a few simple exercises and stretches you can complete on your own to help decrease pain or tension in your postural muscles.

  • Upright Sitting with Towel Roll:

By tightly rolling a small hand towel and placing it at the small of your back, you are able to take hundreds of pounds of pressure off of your spine. You will automatically move from a slightly (or greatly) slumped position into a straight, neutral-spine position. Rather than being strained and elongated or shortened and tightened, muscles will be able to rest in their typical position, saving you from back pain occurring at any point on the spine.

 

  • Towel SNAGS:

Towel snags are a common exercise we therapists give our patients to help stretch and gain range of motion within the neck. The first picture depicts a rotational stretch to help you turn and look over your shoulder. The second picture shows an extension stretch to help relieve pain we may have from looking down at documents, leaning forward towards the computer screen, or sleeping with our heads in a forward position.

 

  • Scapular clocks:

Scapular clocks are utilized to encourage the activation of our postural muscles around our spine. When we have good control and strength in those muscles, it is easier to maintain an upright position for longer periods of time. They not only keep us upright, but also help stabilize the scapulohumeral complex, allowing for decreased pressure on the shoulders and neck muscles. With a greater balance in the muscles of the cervical and thoracic spine, there will be less stress and pain through the vertebrae.

 

  • Chin Tucks:

Chin tucks are utilized to get our necks out of the forward-flexed posture we tend to spend our time in. We don’t always realize how far forward our head is sitting when we are on the computer, phone, or gaming system. As you can see by the first picture, we are encouraging our vertebrae to compress, causing increased pressure at the front of the neck as well as within all muscles attached to the area. By simply pushing our head back and tucking our chin, we resume proper alignment and strengthen our stabilizing muscles to help keep us there.

 

References:

https://mslongi.weebly.com/posture.html

https://www.hep2go.com/exercise_editor.php?exId=76060&userRef=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LZE7BRvYjc

https://www.elitefitcenter.com/blog/alleviating-shoulder-pain/

https://cleanspine.com/2019/08/18/neck-pain-at-work-try-this/