Do you wonder why I always start my Pilates classes off with neck mobility ?
Well let me tell you...
How we hold our head on a daily basis can massively impact on our posture. A bad head posture is the head drawn forward.
Just think about your day and the position of your neck, we look at computer screens, phones, drive, cycle, cook, play with the kids and even when we are reading.
Their is a term for this called “Pokey Chin Syndrome". Due to the increased compressive force applied through the neck joints and increased muscle tension, pain is the common outcome of this.
Some problems associated with this are headaches, neck discomfort, muscle tensioning the neck and shoulders, discomfort in the mid back.
So what is good neck alignment, we should aim to keep our head squarely over our trunk, lifted gently through the back of the neck and with our chin very gently nodded down and drawn in. Another way to think about this is holding an imaginary orange between your chin and your chest. If the orange falls then you are too far forward!
Lets just take a look at the anatomy of the head and neck.
Imagine that the neck is a “thin stalk” with a “very large ball”, weighing 10-11 pounds, just perched on top.!! (Yes exactly!)
Then think about holding a large ball out in front of your body dangling from your small wrist for a long time, you wouldn’t like this.... well neither does your neck appreciate your head hanging out in front either!
So by shortening the lever by bringing the head over the trunk, and centring the weight of your head directly above the “thin stalk” (neck), makes all the neck structures under less stress and strain.
So in the short term if you don’t let the “orange fall” you will suffer less muscle tension, neck stiffness and postural pain.
In the long term, you will prevent soft tissue changes, bone and cartilage wear and tear (osteoarthritis), kyphosis (hunched back) from developing, and nerve compression (or pinched nerves).
Can you see by adopting a simple thought of “lets keep my orange from falling!”, you will do wonders for your posture and spinal health.
Here is a really simple exercise you can do to reverse the effects of “Pokey Chin Syndrome”.
This exercise loosens up tight muscles, relieves pain, and reduces spinal pressure. Keep your eyes facing forward the whole time.