How Posture Can Help Neck Pain
Have you noticed your neck seems stiff and sore at the end of a long day? Do you catch yourself hunching over more and more the older you get? Although many people straighten up at the mere mention of the word posture, most will slump right back into their usual slouchy posture seconds later.
Poor postural habits can significantly influence how you feel. Most people don’t think about how they are holding their bodies until a problem starts or a physical therapist mentions the word!
Unfortunately, once your body gets used to poor posture, it becomes more challenging than simply squaring your shoulders or pinching your shoulder blades together. Tightness and tension in the upper back and neck are common complaints from anyone that has worked on a computer for hours every day or driven long distances. Generally speaking, the worse your posture is, the more intense your neck pain can become.
At New You Health and Wellness, we take a “whole person” view of health and well-being. This means that instead of isolating your aches and pains into a single category, we recognize the interconnectedness of the body and how a restriction or weakness in one area can cause symptoms in another area. This is definitely the case with posture!
Request an appointment today and learn more about our holistic programs to help you find lasting relief!
What is posture, and how to find your “neutral” posture
Posture is defined as the position(s) of a person’s body in space. In most cases, your ideal posture is found when the spine joints are aligned in relation to one another so you can move freely and efficiently while performing any activity.
In our modern world, we have shifted from an active lifestyle to a more sedentary life which has unintentionally impaired our awareness of how we hold our bodies. Prolonged sitting or standing slouched has altered our internal monitor of what good posture feels and looks like.
Our body’s nervous system uses feedback from our environment and activities to give us a sense of how to move appropriately. This feedback helps us find and keep the alignment of the spinal joints over one another, so when we repeatedly position ourselves in a slouched position, our body recognizes that at “normal” despite its adverse impacts on our health and well-being.
Postural control refers to holding a specific posture against gravity to maintain balance. After years of practicing poor postural habits, your back, shoulder, and neck muscles will likely find standing or sitting with a straight, controlled posture challenging. This struggle is because your muscles and nervous system have grown accustomed to slouching postures.
Finding your “neutral” posture is key to moving and feeling better. Your body is designed to align perfectly to allow proper movement, breathing, and blood circulation. When the spine is in its ideal position, the vertebrae stack up over one another. This is what people think of as a “neutral” posture.
Our spine is a complex system of interconnected joints that influence one another. For example, a slouched lower back will prevent the neck from achieving your ideal posture. You must start with the lower back to find your ideal neck posture.
You can find your natural alignment by reaching your arms overhead and looking up at your hands. This causes your breast bone (sternum) towards the sky and causes lordosis (natural curve) in your lower back, resulting in your vertebrae aligning into your “neutral” posture.
When we stack the vertebrae properly, the body can absorb the forces of gravity and the stresses from everyday activities. Finding your ideal posture involves training your body to stand, walk, and sit in positions where the least strain is placed on joints and supporting muscles.
Our therapists can help teach you to find your neutral spine posture to counteract the slouching to alleviate your pain and improve your overall health!
Request an appointment at New You Health and Wellness!
Our spine is designed to move, which means our posture should also move. The spine does not like remaining in any position for extended times. Working with our physical therapists to improve your posture with exercises is an effective way to overcome neck pain.
At New You Health and Wellness, our physical therapist will guide you through stretches and strength-building exercises to help you train your body to practice better posture, thereby reducing your neck pain.
Your therapist will teach you strategies like:
● Stand tall whenever you are standing or walking.
● Maintain a straight spine when you lift heavy objects.
● Use support when you sit to keep your posture correct.
Physical therapy is ideal for helping you mobilize your spine and strengthen the surrounding muscles to alleviate the pain associated with your poor postural habits.
Contact New You Health and Wellness today to learn more about how you can take steps to start improving your posture today!
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