Why Do I Have Neck Pain?
by Daniel Cox, DPT
AzOPT Glendale Clinic Manager
Neck pain and pain between one’s shoulder blades is one of the most commonly seen problems by our physical therapists. When a person complains of neck pain, usually we diagnose “posture” as the cause of neck pain, but is it really? The most common cause might not be what you think it is, or at least not the true issue. It just might be something else, one that even easier to fix than your posture.
First it should be pointed out that there is NO ideal or perfect posture. The old idea of good and bad posture just does not fit anyone. I have met individuals with what could be considered terrible posture who never complain of neck pain. I have also met others who sit up straight and tall, but suffer from daily headaches and neck strain.
Can Poor Posture Affect Neck Pain?
So why then is it commonly stated that poor posture causes neck pain? Most likely because it is easy to blame posture, It’s the most obvious culprit. Sitting ‘slumped down’ or hunched forward may look uncomfortable, but it’s generally not harmful.
In truth, the most common cause of neck pain may well be the LACK OF MOVEMENT. This is more problematic than any one position or particular way of sitting and standing. Frequent movement of the body and neck is GOOD and likely to reduce pain or avoid onset of pain altogether.
In today’s electronic world, we spend so much time in front of a computer, tablet or phone screen. Some of us additionally spend hours in a car or plane. In the majority of people, sitting still has as much as anything to do with neck pain. I advise to just not stay in any one position or posture for too long.
How Can I Relieve My Neck Pain?
The best way to do this is to build some movement and activity into your day. Set a timer and get up and move once it goes off. Look all the way up to the ceiling and then turn your head and tip each ear to your shoulders. Reach your arms overhead, out to the sides and across your body. Even better, make time in your daily/weekly routine to regularly exercise, even something as simple as going for a 10-minute walk. Make sure to spend equal time on front and back muscles. This will help maintain good muscle balance and keep your body feeling good.
So…don’t fret over your posture; but if you are concerned, and exercises aren’t helping, reach out to AzOPT for an evaluation or 15-minute FREE injury screening with a licensed physical therapist. Our experts may be the fastest way to getting back to what you love!