Addressing Back and Neck Pain through Awareness and Action

I see a lot of patients who come in with back and neck problems. They have no recollection of ever doing anything to trigger the agony. They simply inform me that they were going about their daily lives until they became ill. The issue is, how we live our lives and choose to move or not move is crucial to how we function. For example, as a species, we are flexor dominated. That is, if there is no resistance, we will curl into a ball, similar to the fetal position. We are hard programmed to have increased resting tone in all of the muscles that curl us into a ball.

This is also why people who have had a stroke appear the way they do. We encourage this flexor tone when we sit at a computer, use a tablet, or use our phones too much. This means that our shoulders go forward, our heads move forward, and our chin moves closer to our chest. This causes significant strain or stiffness in all of the extensor muscles, particularly those in the back, and this imbalance or improper posture causes many of the issues we experience on a daily basis.

When I talk about these concerns, people frequently say, so I guess I have to perform a lot of maintenance. The answer isn't that you should conduct maintenance; rather, you should recognize that everything you do during the day is actively pulling you away from where you need to be. If you want to keep doing the things that are killing your physical body, you must perform maintenance. It will benefit you more if you can alter your body position every day.

Anything that puts your ear openings in front of the midline of your shoulders or brings your chin closer to your chest is actively pushing your body away from where it ought to be, which will create pain sooner or later. Take note of your posture and how you stand comfortably. You will have trouble if your head kicks forward and your shoulders roll forward. Working the back and extensors is your only option.

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Dr. Matt Chalmers

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health, or wellness.

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