Is Your Neck Pain a Result of Poor Posture?

What was it your mother used to tell you when you were younger? “Sit up straight!”

As it turns out, if you want to avoid neck pain, you need to listen to Mom.

The average American will experience neck pain at some time in their life. We often associate neck pain with something traumatic, like whiplash from a car wreck, lifting something in an improper way, or from sleeping wrong, but the most common cause of neck pain is actually poor posture.

Why Poor Posture is More Harmful Than You Think

When you have poor posture, or slouch, the muscles in your upper body have to work harder to compensate for the incorrect positioning of your head. Some muscles become overstretched, while others tighten up.

The most common type of poor posture occurs when your shoulders are too far forward and you have a rounded upper back. In fact, this may be the exact posture you’re using  as you read this article! You’d better be careful though, because not only can having poor posture lead to neck problems, but it can also lead to shoulder pain, a loss of feeling or tingling sensation in our shoulders and neck, or troublesome headaches.

If left undealt with, over time bad posture can wreak even more havoc on your body, leading to painful, herniated discs and pinched nerves. It can also negatively affect how you stand, sit, and move, resulting in muscle and joint injury and degenerative arthritis.

Who Suffers from Poor Posture?

Poor posture can affect anyone, from the very young to the very old. It can be a habitual problem created through years of neglect, or it can be brought on quickly by lifestyle or career changes. Those who are most likely to be affected are women, people over the age of 50, those who wear heavy backpacks, regularly lift heavy amounts of weight, or office workers who sit at a desk or work at a computer.

How to Treat Neck Pain from Poor Posture

If your neck pain stems from poor posture, you can treat the pain all you want, but it will never go away until you correct the behavior causing it. Using anti-inflammatories or over the counter medications can help with relief, but you will need to engage in stretching, physical therapy, or exercises like yoga to keep it from happening again. Chiropractors can prescribe exercises to help you practice good postures, as well as core strengthening exercises to keep you in line.

Remember, bad posture leads to worse posture, as the muscles are tightened or incorrectly stretched over time and become harder to correct. Be aware that the longer you’ve had the problem, the longer it will take to fix it.

Also, don’t forget that oftentimes there are behaviors and habits that you can change in subtle ways in order to positively affect your posture, such as not looking down at an iPad for hours at a time, or wearing a lighter backpack or purse throughout your daily travels.

As with any neck pain, if you aren’t sure that poor posture is the culprit, please call us and let us know what problems you are having. We want you to have good posture and feeling pain-free as quickly as possible.

Dr. Donald Hope