JUNE 11, 2019

What are the true causes behind neck pain (aside from injury) and what can you do to alleviate the symptoms?

It’s probably safe to say that most of us at some point in time have woken up with neck pain or can recall an event or injury that resulted in neck pain. In fact, at any given time, 13% of adults are suffering from neck pain.

Neck pain is frequently triggered by trauma, but there can be other underlying problems that cause this type of pain too. The reasons are not always obviously identifiable, but different factors that provoke muscle strain and muscle spasm result in neck pain.

For example, did you know that an eye convergence problem or clenching your teeth can be the cause of your neck pain? This might come as a surprise to you, but as you know, Posturepro is all about making these types of links.

How do you ask?
The answer lies in neurology. You see, your eye muscle (there are twelve) are innervated by 3 cranial nerves, and these cranial nerves originate in a part of your brain called the brainstem.


What’s really interesting, is that in the brainstem there is a set of crossed fibers with ascending and descending fibers that link your eye muscles to your upper trapezius, your sternocleidomastoid and suboccipital.d suboccipitals.

So through this connection, an eye muscle imbalance can lead to neck imbalance that can lead to neck pain.

We can’t say enough about stress these days. Most people are unaware of this, but when we are stressed we tend to clench our teeth. And in the context of neck pain, your jaw can be a contributor.

An example of this would be if you wake up with neck pain. You see the muscles that assist in mastication are the temporalis, masseter, medial and lateral pterygoid, and it just so happens that one of the antagonist muscles of your jaw is the upper trapezius.

Now since the trapezius originates on the occipital bone, and inserts on the scapular spine of the scapula, it is easy to understand how clenching your teeth on a daily basis can create abnormal tension in your neck.

A stiff neck can really limit simple movements like head rotation and can really affect your quality of life.

Here are 3 simple things that you can do to try to alleviate symptoms.

Tip number 1 – Do some eye exercises. Working out your eyes is a great way to relax your neck muscle. Do these on a daily basis up to 3 times a day.

 

Tip number 2 – Massage your masseter. That is the large muscle located on your check, to locate it, put your hands on your cheeks and clench your teeth.

The muscle that contracts is the masseter. Massage it by applying pressure between the fibers.

This exercise can be quite painful, so make sure to go nice and slow. A great tool for this is the proprioceptive enhancer.

Tip number 3 –  working on your posture by changing your daily postural habits, like looking down at your phone all day.  If you are looking for a permanent correction consult with a Posturologist.

Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about, but if it’s occurring with other, more serious symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor.

If you want to learn more on how to hack your brain to improve your own performance, check out our programs.

References:

Cho CY: Survey of faulty postures and associated factors among Chinese adolescents. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2008, 31: 224–229

Szeto GP, Straker L, Raine S: A field comparison of neck and shoulder postures in symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers. Appl Ergon, 2002, 33: 75–84

Silva AG, Punt TD, Sharples P, et al. : Head posture and neck pain of chronic nontraumatic origin: a comparison between patients and pain-free persons. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2009, 90: 669–674

Yip CH, Chiu TT, Poon AT: The relationship between head posture and severity and disability of patients with neck pain. Man Ther, 2008, 13: 148–154.

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