Head Position And Neck Pain

February 18, 2017

I have clients ask me all the time about whether or not the position of their head is the reason they have neck pain.

It makes sense, right? The further forward your head is the more weight pulling on your neck. It totally makes sense, and I do believe it has merit.

However, I came across this research paper titled: Neck posture clusters and their association with biopsychosocial factors and neck pain in Australian adolescents. Here is the pubmed abstract.

That forward slumped posture, a lot of people don’t realise has a deeper connection to full core stability (or spinal stability), which involves the muscles and supportive structures like ligaments surrounding your whole spine, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. There’s a lot more going on here than just the position of the neck and head.

While the research results showed no significant difference in the likelihood of neck pain or headache across the shoulders, I did find one statement interesting, “Participants classified as having slumped thorax/forward head posture were at higher odds of mild, moderate, or severe depression. Participants classified as having upright posture exercised more frequently.”

It interests me to question what comes first: is the depression in adolescents stemming from a psychosomatic cause of a slumped posture, or is the slumped posture leading to an impression or sensation of depression? The fact that participants with upright posture exercised more frequently is probably not a coincidence.

I believe that exercise with attention to stability of the spine and efficient posture has an emotional and mental effect on us. I’m not sure if there’s sufficient research to back that up, but I do notice that when I’m feeling sad, unsafe, or unsure of myself my posture changes to a forward flexed position. I also know that standing up tall, and finding that efficient posture gives me an impression of confidence and ease.

And I don’t just mean an outward impression, I also mean an internal impression. My mind recognises that posture as portraying confidence, and that is what I believe when I make it happen in my body.

In addition to the hormones that are released with exercise, I think exercising for better posture can help our moods, self-worth, and efficacy. How great is that?!

One method of core stability training, which ultimately leads to that efficient posture is hypopressives. This low impact core training came about as an effective and gentle way to help post-partum women improve their pelvic floor and core health. It’s now applied to any situation where core engagement is a concern.

I’ve seen a number of my clients have incredible results from learning hypopressives when traditional core exercises were not helping, and in some cases hurting them. It’s changed people’s lives!

I am so excited to share that I’ll be taking the level 1 training in March and will be able to offer it as part of my home-care prescribed to massage therapy clients!

If you’d like to learn more about hypopressives, check out this video:

I look forward to sharing this method with you as indicated in your treatment! I believe it’s going to make your sessions way more effective and lasting, especially if you put the time and effort into it 🙂

Well, this post has been a bit of a tangent, but I like where it took us! Until next time.

In health,