The fitness industry has drummed into us the importance of a strong core, and getting that 6 pack. But what if we challenged you to believe that there is more than one that governs the bodies posture, stability and function. Over the next few weeks we will address another 2 “core” areas of the body the patterns of imbalances, and exercises that we normally suggest to improve posture and create stability within the area.
A week ago we discussed the trunk core which you can find here. However, what about the tissues which surround the neck, or the tissues that surround the pelvis?
In this post we will talk about the neck region. One of the first signs we see with neck muscle imbalance is forward head posture, or techneck. Tech neck, is not an official medical diagnosis, but rather a term commonly used for a repetitive stress injury, where excessive texting or mobile device use is believed to be the primary cause. But it’s not limited to just texting, computer posture, sleeping positions and couch time, or anywhere where you are looking down or slouched through the spine.
Tech neck occurs when the superficial neck flexors (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes), overpower the smaller deep neck flexor group (longus colli and longus capitis), which further causes symptoms like pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulders, change in posture, reduced mobility and headaches.
Our body wasn’t designed to be looking down at a smartphone all day, so as a result our neck pushes forward and up, this is so we can see where we are going, which tightens the muscles and restricting the joints between the top of the neck and the base of the skull.
However, we can manage these symptoms through exercises, and physical therapy to ensure optimal function and decreased symptoms. Just like the trunk core, we should strive to address and activate the deep neck flexors to improve posture control and stability of the neck as well as alleviate neck pain, to help maintain proper neck and shoulder posture and in conjunction, release the superficial neck flexors through muscle release therapies and stretching.
Seeking a physical therapist may be more effective to help create a personalised programme and to further address muscle tightness through more advanced soft tissue techniques, while also assessing and correcting joint restrictions through the neck and mid back region.
Just like the trunk core, we should strive to address and activate the deep neck flexors to improve posture control and stability of the neck as well as alleviate neck pain, to help maintain proper neck and shoulder posture and in conjunction, release the superficial neck flexors through muscle release therapies and stretching.
What are some exercises that you can trial?
Chin tucks – place a rolled towel behind the neck, aim to nod the head and lengthen the neck while bringing the chin towards the throat. It should almost feel like a scooping motion. You can complete this lying down or standing up against the wall
Neutral Spine – stand with your back against the wall, your skull, shoulders, and butt should all be in contact with the wall. Walk off and keep the position.
Cervical flexion quadruped – on all 4’s (hands under shoulders, knees under hips). Again aim to nod the head and lengthen the neck while bringing the chin towards the throat.
Alternatively, come see one of our health practitioners for more information about your spine health. BOOK here