Breathing is a very primal movement which happens subconsciously. However it can have an affect on how we move and how we stabilize. It also plays a role in regulating our body’s Ph (acidic and alkaline) levels. For neck and back pain sufferers this should be a fundamental movement that is corrected before any other exercises are taken on.
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Poor posture of the upper back and neck will often result in pain, joint stiffness, and muscle tightness. The cervical spine and the supporting muscles become labored and stressed with a forward head posture. This is a common presentation when the chin protrudes forward rather than remaining in its proper position over the chest. At the spinal level, this can affect the joint movement which may result in wear and tear. An imbalance of the supporting muscles will most often result. The upper trap muscles are among those that become overactive and tight. Continue reading “A Simple Exercise for Neck and Upper Back Pain” »
Although there are over 150 classifications of headaches, most of those classifications will fall under tension related headaches. While tension headaches have many causative factors, the symptoms present very similar. Symptoms of a tension headache will include pain around the head and/or neck and may have associated neck muscle tightness. The pain will often be described as a dull or achy pain that may get worse as the day goes on. A tension headache will respond very well to manual therapy, but here a few other things to consider on your own.
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Low back pain can be complex and have many different contributing factors, so to give one recommendation to everyone who sufferers from it wouldn’t make much sense. However, one large subgroup of back pain sufferers fall under what is termed “flexion-intolerant”. In this case flexion is bending forward (just like the lady in the picture). Too much flexion or bending at the low back can be detrimental to structure of the spinal joints and discs. Repetitive or prolonged flexion or bending can often times be what causes an increase or “flare-up” in low back pain. This can include repetitive lifting, sitting, or driving.
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Many will just succumb to the fact that they sit at desk for their job, and aches and pains are destined to follow. Prolonged sitting at a desk or computer will increase the chance of pain for most people. Possible complaints can include neck or back pain, headaches, wrist or elbow tendonitis, or carpal tunnel like symptoms. Although I treat patients for all these conditions, it is much easier to prevent them before symptoms make it difficult to work. Here is my first line of defense if you sit at a desk or computer for more than one hour combined during the day.
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Adding hip flexor stretches can have a positive effect on function of the hip and pelvis, posture, and ultimately reducing pain when performed correctly. The hip flexor is a group muscles that assist with, doing just what is says…flexing the hip. If you sit at a desk for work, this will most likely be tight. The muscles originate and attach as high as the spine and as low as the thigh, just above the knee. Of course most of the muscles will have attachments at the hip and pelvis itself. Statically when they are tight or restricted they can cause a forward rocking of the pelvis. We call this “sway back” posture. Ultimately what this does is cause an increase curvature in our lumber spine. Also, if the muscle group is tight the hip joint will become limited resulting in overuse of the low back muscles to compensate.
Here are the basics of how to properly stretch the hip flexor.
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