Raise your hand if you struggle with neck pain or tightness at least once a month…(every hand in the country raises). How commonly do we hear “Ugh I must have slept wrong on my neck last night” or “I always get headaches, it’s just normal for me”? Way too often! And I am here to tell you neck pain and headaches ARE NOT NORMAL. Under no circumstances should we just accept pain and discomfort and chalk it up as “getting older” or “being out of shape”. If you have a problem, fix it! But how do we fix something without knowing what causes it? Let’s fix that ;)
3 most common causes of neck pain
1. Sitting all day. Like most, we spend a majority of our day sitting at a desk and computer. This means our shoulder are slouched, our middle back is hunched over, our arms are in front of our bodies, and you head is at least 2 inches farther forward than it is supposed to be. Well no wonder we have tight, stiff necks once we reach quitting time. Seated posture puts our spine in the opposite curvatures it’s designed to have. God intended for us to be active, on our feet constantly, and originally chasing saber tooth tigers for dinner. But as our society has evolved, along with the hunting and gathering process, we are reversing the structure of our spines without even knowing it.
2. Sleeping on your side, stomach, or with a pillow. We may not be able to change the fact that our jobs involve terrible posture all day long, but changing the positions you sleep in at night is totally in our control. This is a solid 7-8 hour (hopefully) block of opportunity that we could be taking advantage of to reset our spines’ curvatures and give those muscles a chance to relax from the long day’s work. But typically we are doing one of 3 things: If you are sleeping on your side, this curves your neck either to the right or left depending on how thick your pillow is and what your side of choice is. This is basically inducing a scoliosis curve to your neck which we all know is no good. For you horrid stomach sleepers, your head is turned one way or another the entire time so one side of your neck’s muscles are extremely tight while the others are receiving an 8 hour stretch all night. Plus when you rotate your head to a side, it actually compresses the artery on that side that feeds your brain. So you are also affecting the amount of oxygen your brain receives all night too. Maybe that’s why you’re waking up still feeling fatigued and not rested. Just saying! And maybe you are trying to be a star chiro patient and are sleeping on your back. But if you are using a pillow, you are putting your head in that forward carriage that you maintain all day long while sitting. So save those pillows for decoration and ditch them when it’s actually time to sleep!
3. Forward head posture. Our head is meant to be centered over our body because it is heavy! Your hole in your ear (external auditory meatus) should line up with the seam on your shirt’s sleeve. Whether you are sitting, standing, or sleeping, this is where your head belongs for everything to function at its maximum capacity. So having it 1 to 2 or even 3 inches in front of that center makes our head much heavier (thanks physics) and causes an immense amount of stress on the muscles working to hold our head up. Fun fact: for every 1 inch your head is forward of your center, it become 10lbs heavier. No wonder your neck is stiff and tight! And when that forward head carriage occurs, it once again, presses on those vital arteries that supply our brain, thus causing the famous headache. Headaches are not from a lack of Excedrin or ibuprofen in our system. It is literally our brain warning us that something is wrong before anything to serious progresses. But what do we do?? We just slap a Band-Aid on it with ibuprofen and continue on our day. See where we go wrong with listening to our body?
Feel a little more informed now on why your neck and shoulders are so stiff and achy at the end of the day or when you wake up in the morning? But I am sure you’re now wondering, “What do I do about it!?!” Dr. Hester and I put together a series of videos to further explain neck pain and also to give you some at-home tips along with what we offer here in the office to not just get rid of the neck pain and headaches, but to truly FIX the structural issues causing the discomfort. So head over to Facebook now to check out those blockbusters ;) Pretty sure we have a Grammy on the way!
If you or your colleague in the cubicle next to you, are struggling with neck pain, make an appointment with us today! 623.551.6677. The longer you wait, the worse it will get, and the lengthier the treatment process will be. Don’t let procrastination be the thief of your health!
Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
CONTACT & LOCATION
41930 N Venture Dr #110
Anthem, AZ 85086