Very often the pain clients experience is caused by the way they move hundreds of times a day. Repetitive movement around joints that are not centrated because of muscle imbalances leads to overuse and pain.
We will look at one example of faulty posture that causes pain and how simple cueing and corrections can help to reduce this discomfort.
Computers and sitting have a lot to answer for when it comes to analyzing modern man and his posture. I would also add that because we no longer climb trees in hunt for honey or just pure pleasure we have lost the ability to extend our thoracic spine which is so important as a foundation for good cervical posture.
- We begin by looking at our client from the side.The ear should be in line with the shoulder i hasten to add that we are not looking for perfection but an ear that sits a couple of inches in front of the shoulder could do with some correction.A forward head increases the curve of the neck and just like a big lumbar lordosis is not good for the lower back because of the increased compression on the discs the same is true for the cervical spine.
- If we determine a correction is required we will move to the wall.The wall is one of the therapists most valuable tools ,it is honest and always lets us know where neutral spine is.
- Ideally you want to see the back of the head ,upper back ,sacrum and heels all making contact with the wall.The arms are down in the anatomical position palms facing forward.many people will not even be able to stand straight against a wall in this case allow them to move their feet away to make it easier.
- The client now pulls their chin in as though making a double chin which does not look pretty and is best done in private but is very effective at addressing the forward head posture.This movement now becomes a home exercise for your client to do throughout the day.How many times per day you may ask? Once you are happy that they are performing the chin tuck correctly you can encourage your client to perform the movement as often as possible throughout the day.Sitting in the car waiting for the lights to change is an ideal opportunity.
Over time this chin tucking exercise will address the muscle imbalance in the neck.The deep neck flexors will become stronger and through reciprocal inhibition the short tight neck extensors at the back will lengthen and relax and a pain free neutral cervical spine will be restored.
Here is a short video demonstration of the above mentioned text.