I’m back after my one week hiatus! And today, I’m going to go over your neck posture! WOO!
Alright, to begin, your neck has a natural curve. It curves going in towards the front of your body, resembling a “C” shape, otherwise known as a lordotic curve. This is the natural curve and what we strive for! However, much like the rest of your back, this curve can change based on everyday life.
The three other curves you may see in a neck are:
- Hypolordotic – if we use our Latin knowledge here, we know the natural curve is lordotic, adding hypo in front of it tells us the curve is diminishing and may even appear to be flat
- Kyphotic- picture this as an inverse “C” shape. Your thoracic spine is actually a kyphotic curve, so imagine your neck looking like your mid back. It’s not the best look
- S-Curve – this is a mix of both a lordotic curve (yay) and a kyphotic curve (boo). The neck consists of only 7 vertebrae, therefore, that’s a lot of curving that’s going on in your neck in a small space. Not good!
Go ahead and take a picture of your neck position now. Does it seem healthy? If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it! You’re here now to get some neck tips.
Moving on, WHY do we want that lordotic curve in our neck? Our spine column and the disks are made to absorb force of everyday life. If the curve of your neck is off slightly, it’s going to cause unnecessary force and pressure on the joints and disks of your neck that aren’t meant to load it. If this keeps happening, this can lead to degenerative disk disease and possibly arthritis.
And those are just the vertebrae if your neck curve is out of wack! There’s a whole thing going on with muscle imbalances too! I covered those a bit more in part one of this series. To recap though, specific muscles in the back of your neck are becoming overactive and working too hard. These culrpits are the levator scap muscle and the upper fibers of the trapezius muscles. Since they are esssentially taking over, the surrounding muscles shut off and become weak. Those weak muscles are notablely the lower fibers of the trapezius muscles and the rhomboid (more on those next few weeks).
How can we gain control of our neck posture then?
- Chin tucks! This is going to strengthen the front musculature around your neck
- Levator Scap Stretch: Point your nose towards your armpit, and with your hand on the same side push your head further towards your armpit. 30 seconds to 1 minute, throughout the day
- Upper Trap Stretch: Bring your ear to your shoulder, and with the hand on the same side, push your head further towards your shoulder. 30 seconds to 1 minute, throughout the day
- Move your neck from side to side, up and down, and rotate! Just use your neck to it’s full range of motion. Remember, you use it or lose it! Arguably one of the most important laws in all of kinesiology.
Next week, we tackle the shoulders!
Rememeber to wash your hands,