What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a result of our daily routine. Modern life by default sets you up to develop neck pain at some point or the other. Think about it briefly; what is the typical lifestyle of the average white collar worker? An ordinary day would begin with waking up, sitting down to have breakfast and reading the paper; then, getting into the car and driving to work.
A typical day at the office comprises working while slouched over a computer or desk for several hours and then getting back into the car and driving back home. Once at home, the normal routine is to sit back and watch television, have dinner and call it a day. The next morning, the same process is repeated. Why then would you be surprised when after a few years your body begins to react to this daily routine and you begin to show the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Neck pain while sleeping
- Neck pain and dizziness
- Bad posture
- Numbness or tingling in your arms and hands
These symptoms are simply the result of years of bad slumped posture, rounded shoulders, or forward head posture. Our bodies adapt to our environment and the bodily positions we assume on a daily basis. Thus, our muscles at the front of our torso become tight while our upper back and shoulder muscles stretch too much and become weak. As a result, the muscles in our neck weaken and our head appears to droop.
The muscles at the front of the neck weaken and stretch outwards while those at the back tighten. Since the head is attached to the neck, and the neck attaches to the shoulders and upper back, there is constant interaction amongst all parts and each body part is dependent to a large extent on other parts above and below it.
The Location of your Neck Muscles
Muscles operate correctly when they are in optimal posture. When stretched out or when they are too tight, they tend to operate below par. Whenever this happens, the muscle creates strain on the bones and discs as well the joints of the neck, back and shoulders. When this happens over a prolonged period of time, the joints become inflamed causing the discs to protrude.
When the discs protrude in your spine, the nerves get irritated. These are the same nerves that serve the shoulders, hands and arms. Thus, any discomfort in the shoulders, hands or arms may be as a result of a problem in the neck or upper back. That’s why most “carpal tunnel like” symptoms, and arm or hand pain come from the neck and shoulders. The best thing about these problems brought on by postural changes in our lives is that they can be fixed permanently through small changes to our daily routine.
The Neck, Shoulders and Upper Back
This entire area of the human body comprises a complex network of joint muscles. The motions that these joints go through are quite complicated. What people do not understand is that the curvature of the lower spine plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the upper spine. Thus, before dealing with any problems present in the upper spine, one needs to address any issues in the entire spinal column. Addressing the problem correctly in this manner means that you have won half the battle.
Permanent Neck Pain Relief
Conventional modes of diagnosis such as X-Rays and MRIs can disclose the condition you are suffering from; however, they cannot reveal the muscle balance, strength or flexibility of muscle tissue. They also cannot decipher what caused your neck and shoulder muscles to become misaligned.
The only way to know your bodies specific muscle imbalances is through a detailed physical assessment that determines your unique postural distortions and muscle imbalances. This determines what muscles are too tight, too weak and why your body is being pulled out of alignment and not functioning optimally with gravity. Once postural issues are identified, it becomes easy to work back wards and hypothesize on the causes based on the pattern of imbalance.
Muscle imbalances are only corrected with specific corrective exercises and stretches that stretch your short, tight muscles and strengthen the weaker ones. With targeted postural alignment exercises and stretching specifically tailored to the condition, you can correct many postural distortions and muscles imbalances at the root cause of your neck pain. The amazing thing about the human body is that even when muscles are misaligned, the condition is never permanent and can always be reversed.
How NOT to Cure Neck Pain
Before starting ANY exercise program, you must know and understand your bodies unique and specific muscle imbalances. DO NOT start an exercise program before understanding your muscle imbalances. The simple reason for this is that you may end up strengthening a group of muscles that is already too strong, short and tight and in the process create more imbalances. You may also stretch a muscle that is already overstretched and worsen the condition. Going to the gym, doing yoga or Pilates is great but only if it is part of a treatment process after understanding the nature of your bodies specific muscle imbalances.
The next thing you should avoid is over-use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You can use them initially when the pain is too much to bear but at all costs avoid a situation that may lead to addiction. Further, they only treat the pain symptoms and are not a cure.
The following are some of the immediate steps you should take if you want PERMANENT relief from neck and shoulder pain:
- Do not exercise until you understand your imbalances
- Avoid sports or other physical activity until you understand your imbalances
- Seek the help of a professional who understands postural dysfunctions and muscle imbalances, and how to correct them with postural alignment therapy.
- Your approach should be holistic and must address your physical fitness, mental health and nutrition
- Avoid NSAIDs
- Be open minded about therapeutic methods new to you such as Posture Realignment Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, self treatment of trigger points, and more.
- Learn as much as you can about neck pain. Educate yourself using both online and offline sources
Treatment for Neck Pain – How to Get Started
The fact of the matter is that in life it may not be easy to get out of an occupation that causes you to develop bad posture. However, this does not mean that you are confined to a life of constant pain. You can get relief provided you take the first step and get started.
Many people that suffer from recurrent or chronic neck pain have likely tried all manner of “cures” and are probably skeptical that there is anything that can work for them. However, the fact of the matter is that neck pain can be cured permanently.
The first step begins by learning as much about your condition as you possibly can. Armed with information you can go about finding the best experts in this field. To keep oxidative stress and systemic inflammation at bay, you need to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, as well as an anti-inflammatory diet. This may mean a diet low in sugar and gluten-free.
Everyone who suffers from neck pain or headaches has trigger points. You must find a way to self-administer trigger point therapy followed with Neuromuscular and Posture Realignment Therapy. Releasing and deactivating your trigger points is step one to eliminating your pain. Doing the proper Postural Realignment Exercises to restore your muscle imbalances is step two.
Take time off occasionally to relax and meditate. Reacting to stress less reduces the agitation and frustration in your body which causes muscles to tighten and spasm.
For more information on neck pain and how to get permanent relief, visit www.GetPainFree.Tv.