Two of the major conditions we treat at Continuum Wellness are neck pain and headaches. They can affect people from ages 15 to 100, are usually related, and can be very frustrating. The most common type of neck pain we see is posture related. Treatment consists of stretching and massaging tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, improving the endurance of your posture muscles, and correcting ergonomics of your work space or computer desk.
First, let’s talk about work stations and computers. A lot of people work at a desk job for at least 8 hours per day and then come home to either work on the computer even more or sit on the couch and watch television. Poor ergonomics of your workspace are a major cause of neck pain and are corrected fairly easily. By looking at the picture below, you can see what good and bad ergonomics look like. Some highlights include: feet touching the floor (use a foot rest if they can’t touch), elbows bent to 90 degrees and using the arm rest, back touching the back rest and eyes even with the top 1/3 of the screen.
A lot of the time, these simple workspace changes can really have a positive impact on your neck pain and headaches. For a free brochure on ergonomics, email Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next we need to focus on stretching the tight muscles of your chest (mainly the pectoralis muscles) and neck (suboccipitals, upper trapezius and levator scapulae) that are tight and shortened. Treatment would also include some type of massage to help reduce knots, trigger points and tension.
Hold each one for 20 seconds, 3 times per day.
Lastly, we need to improve strength and endurance of your posture muscles. These include your deep neck flexors and shoulder blade muscles. A 1993 study found that women with headaches had statistically decreased strength and endurance of the deep neck flexors compared to women that didn’t have headaches. (Watson & Trott, August 1993) In another study from 2007, improving neck flexor activity helped improve posture and decrease neck pain. (Falla, Jull, Trovor Russell, & Hodges, 2007)
The last picture is one that really hits home for a lot of people. Take a look at how much work your neck is doing to hold your head up when you have a forward head and rounded shoulder posture. Due to leverage, with even just mildy poor posture your neck has to hold up 20 more pounds than compared to normal posture.
If you have been dealing with neck pain and have had little success with getting rid of it, or your neck pain has started recently and isn’t getting better – come to any of our clinics for a free screening. We will assess your posture, your range of motion and strength, and the tightness of your muscles at no cost to you. We will then give you specific exercises to do at home, recommend formal PT or help find the right doctor for you. Give any of our clinics a call to schedule your free screening:
Apache Junction: 480-983-0877