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Monday, November 10, 2008

Q&A from Friday's Post

This was originally posted as a comment but I figured I'd throw it in here...

Hi Mike. I currently have neck soreness and tightness all the time. It definitely affects my ROM, but some days are worse than others. What would you recommend?

Do you cover how to deal with this in "Inside Out"?

Thanks, Paul

Thanks for the question Paul! While we don't cover neck pain directly in Inside-Out, we cover a lot of fundamental relationships that could be producing your neck pain.

Now keep in mind there's a lot of speculation going on here, especially since I've never seen you or evaluated you in person. But here are some issues I typically see in people who have neck pain. Some, if not all, may apply to you.

- Terrible thoracic spine posture. Generally, these people have a wicked thoracic kyphosis, which forces the head/neck forward to balance the body's alignment. Obviously, anything that deviates from the norm is probably going to put undue stress on the body. Basically, your neck is forced to keep your head level and eyes up, which is very taxing on the posterior neck musculature.

- Poor alignment throughout the day. Quite simply, your body gets very "efficient" at sitting in a slouched or hunched over position. If you sit at a desk, clean up your posture throughout the day! We actually cover this in-depth in the "Behavior Modification" section of Inside-Out. For sleeping, an orthopedic pillow could make a big difference, too.

Again, this comes back to improving your t-spine alignment and getting your neck back in a neutral alignment.

- Downwardly rotated scapulae. Assuming your neck/thoracic spine are in good alignment, I often see excessive downard rotation of the scapulae in people with neck pain. The rhomboids and the levator scapulae work synergistically to promote downward rotation, and there seems to be a definite cause/effect between a tight levator scapulae, neck pain and even headaches.

In this case, definitely check out Bill and I's article featured previously at T-nation titled "Push-ups, Face Pulls and Shrugs." This will cover the training aspect w/regards to getting those scapular upward rotators stronger and lengthening the short/stiff levator scapulae. A good soft-tissue specialist could play an integral role as well.

Again, a lot of speculation without examining you in person but I'd take a closer look and see how much of this applies to you. Good luck Paul!

Stay strong


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