OH MY ACHING NECK
- How is your posture?
- Have you gotten shorter as you have gotten older?
- Does your neck bother you?
- Do you slump sitting or standing?
- Is it uncomfortable to sit up straight?
- Does your head move forward to read a computer screen?
We tend to lead with our head. Imagine that you are walking through a screen. The first part of the body that touches the screen is usually the head. When your head leads it throws the whole spine out of alignment and shifts your weight forward. It should be the chest that touches first.
There is an easy solution.
Whether sitting or standing: BRING YOUR HEAD BACK!
Your entire posture will change with one simple move.
Try not to feel frustrated when that slumped posture keeps returning. Moving the head back is something we need to keep reminding ourselves about. That's ok. Just keep bringing your head back.
Women are particularly affected by this phenomenon. We are brought up to be more demure. Because of this posture habit, our chest sinks causing the upper front of the rib cage to shorten, our head is pushed forward, the back of the neck shortens and tightens, our upper back muscles become overstretched with the muscles between the shoulder blades weakened. As we age this habit becomes a problem. Our breathing becomes shallow, it gets very tiring to lift our chest up to breath better and in severe cases we can even develop dowager's hump.
Stress makes the shoulders and neck tighten. The shoulders crawl up toward the ears, the back of the neck tightens (to such an extent that nerves in the neck squeezed by tension can cause peripheral neuropathy in the fingers), we get rotator cuff injuries, our balance worsens because our head is thrown forward as we walk. When the head is forward, the back of the legs tighten up to keep us upright. It becomes much harder to lift our feet when we walk and as a result the chances of having a fall are significantly increased. Bring your head back!
If we release tension in the shoulders, the neck itself can relax. We can then improve neck health through gentle release, stretch and strengthening. Building Better Balance teaches these essential steps to bring healing to any part of the body that is experiencing problems:
• Work gently to release adjacent joints.
• Release painful joints themselves with gentle movement.
• Stretch the muscles surrounding the problem.
• Strengthen the stabilizing muscles that encircle the area.
One of the most important principles of Building Better Balance involves improving the health of the whole spine by releasing tension in the lower back and shoulders and neck, strengthening the core substantially and stretching the spine. Building Better Balance has proven to result in great strides in spine health improvement among the many students but also as shown in my own experience. My own spine health has improved significantly.