Do you have neck pain? Here's some ways to turn it around!
Do you find yourself getting a tension headache around busy times or stressful work? Do
you find that you have neck tension that doesn't get better no matter how much you stretch?
It could be your posture and how you breathe!
Modern society more than encourages our forward head posture: our
laptop, driving the car, checking your phone, crafting, readings…...shall I go on?! Our daily environment repetitively asks us to sit down curl forward, like a nice invitation, which all reinforces weak postural and inactive postural muscles and this will continue to happen year after year until we become so comfortable in that forward position that we don't notice of the neck and upper back stiffness that has crept in (we all do it, don’t feel bad)!
When this happens it deactivates the deep muscles in our neck that are responsible for keeping your head upright on your spine and actually supporting it there
Additionally, when we're forward this causes our accessory, superficial muscles (like our scalenes) to become more active, overworked and tight and makes our main breathing muscle, (the diaphragm), to work overtime because it is harder for the body to access it when we are scrunched up. These things together can create the problem of constant, recurring tension in our neck.
Click here to watch a gentleman go more in depth on what accessory muscles are and how they have their place but shouldn't be our go-to for breathing!
It's so important to breathe properly through our diaphragm! Set a goal to practice for a week! There are so many benefits such as:
Improves muscle function during exercises and prevents strain.
Increases oxygenation in your blood overall.
improves gas exchange in your lungs.
Reduces blood pressure.
Reduces heart rate.
With how stressful our modern lives can get it's good to have some tools in our toolbox to give more relaxing!
So overall, if you've had headaches, neck pain or tension that won’t go away or if you just want to improve your posture.
Click here for our desk break to help improve posture.
But taking even 3-5 minutes a day and just focusing on your posture, tucking your chin, and breathing through your diaphragm can help tremendously in reducing pain. It can also help neurologically activate your neck's "core" and allow you breathe more freely.
Don't know how to breathe diaphragmatically? Here's a great video where Dr. Shyla explains how!! *5:53 time stamp.
There is a lot of research backing these thoughts and several studies show we can see benefits in as short as 2 weeks with only 5 minutes of practice each day. If you are interested feel free to read these studies below!
Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, et al. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017;8:874. Published 2017 Jun 6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874
Hamasaki H. Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Health: A Narrative Review. Medicines (Basel). 2020;7(10):65. Published 2020 Oct 15. doi:10.3390/medicines7100065