I took a snapshot of YOU today … what’s the problem? Take 3 minutes and educate yourself on why poor posture can lead to pain. Let’s start at the beginning.
Neural/Vascular: The nerves (brachial plexus) and blood vessel (subclavian artery) exiting the neck undergo compressive or tensile forces when the overall spine loses its natural “S” shape. How might this feel? You may not know it yet because of your young age and ability to compensate. For now, you probably carry a small amount of weakness in the muscles on the side of your body that is undergoing the additional stress. Once that compensatory ability starts to dissipate, the weakness will turn into pain, often described as pins and needles or tingling occurring along the nerve pathway most affected. If the subclavian artery is being compressed, your symptoms will be more diffuse with a weaker pulse and coldness in the extremity.
Myofascial: The musculature that originates in your neck and attaches to your first two ribs and shoulder blades may be affected. These make up four of the many muscles that are often mildly contracted for 6-8 hours at work, not to mention another possible 2-4 hours spent on your phone or watching Netflix. Yes, this can lead to a sore neck, headaches and often the nerve symptoms as described above.
Visceral: Think about your torso when you slouch. Your diaphragm remains in a shortened position, along with its ligamentous attachments to the liver, stomach, colon, etc. Sounds like a nice recipe for acid reflux, IBS or any type of digestive issue. Where does the diaphragm get its nerve supply? Answer – the neck. The phrenic nerve (C3-4-5) supplies the diaphragm and the thin lining around the organs. A lack of nerve output can lead to a diaphragm that is either weak or tight. This can further re-enforce poor breathing patterns such as beginning to breathe with your neck and chest muscles. Now you’re breathing 20,000 times a day from a group of muscles that are already having to hold that big noggin up all day – sounds like a vicious cycle, right? It is.
What’s the solution? Stay tuned for our next newsletter.