Neck and shoulder pain
How often do you find yourself hunched over a desk typing away only to realise your neck is in pain and your shoulders ache? Is it any wonder lots of the population have neck and shoulder pain considering we live our lives in a flexed forward position when we are driving, sitting, eating, on our phones?
There are multiple muscles found at the front, back and sides of the neck, coming from all different directions and helping connect the head to the rest of the body. In an ideal alignment of your head your ear should be in line with the middle of your shoulder. When your head is forward (like when you are looking at a computer screen) the workload for the muscles attaching the cervical spine to the head is increased. The muscles strain as they try to hold an increasing load of your forwardly positioned head! Some neck muscles become elongated and weak whilst others may become short and tight. The head forward posture tends to cause the chest muscles to become short and tight pulling the shoulder into a rounded position. The poor muscles that attach to your shoulder blades are crying out as they become weakened and strained from the force pulling them forward. All of this puts your shoulder in a weakened position and prone to injury.
When you find yourself in that hunched forward position take a moment to roll your shoulders backwards, sit up straight and bring your head back in line and your shoulders will thank you! Try taking a tennis ball and rolling out the chest muscles to elongate them or moving your neck side to side to release it. Pilates is a great way to help correct this posture that we often find ourselves in. It can help to realign the head, neck and shoulders and ensure they are correctly positioned over your ribcage and pelvis. Weekly sessions to release the areas of constriction like massages can help in the short term but it is not a long term solution! Release work must be used in conjunction with strengthening the weakened muscle areas and ensure correct firing patterns of the muscles. Without this step the tight muscles will just revert back to old habits and old postures will resume. If you are experiencing neck and shoulder pain why not Pilates a try?