The people in this picture are busily and happily productive. Their laptop computers enable them to work in their bathrobes and provide instant worldwide communication from their kitchen table.
But there's a semi-sinister undertone to this picture. The well-trained eye of a health professional immediately spots what is called "anterior head carriage". In order to see their computer screens, these folks have pushed their heads forward from their bodies. The muscles in the back of their neck are working overtime to keep their heads from tumbling into their laps, and the muscles in the front of their necks are being used incorrectly. Their shoulders are rounded forward, out of normal postural alignment. And, even worse, the normal backwards "C" shaped curve in the neck has been straightened out into a diagonal line.
Hours of consistent computer use will lock the neck and shoulders into unnatural positions, putting strain and stress on back, neck, and shoulder muscles, straightening the cervical curve, and causing inflammation to impact and influence the nerves in the cervical spine. All of these anatomical anomalies can cause tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and tightness, and more.
Here's an easy way to relax those muscles and help restore a natural curve to your neck. It's called The Towel Roll, and you can do it yourself, at home, for free.
Begin by rolling up a household towel.
Lay on your back on the floor or another hard surface (not your soft bed). Place the towel roll under your neck. Make sure that the roll is high enough so that the back of your head doesn't touch the ground. This allows gravity to work on restoring your cervical curve.
To intensify the stretch across your chest and tired shoulder muscles, spread your arms to the sides, with your hands above your head.
This is a fabulous stretch for chest muscles. However, nerves and blood vessels in your shoulders might become impinged by tight chest muscles, causing your hands or fingers to tingle or go numb. If this occurs, simply lower your arm angle slightly.
This simple stretch is best done in the 15 minutes prior to bedtime, but, as already mentioned, don't do it on the bed. This is a good time to listen to soothing music, podcasts, or books on tape. Be careful not to fall asleep on the floor, however, or you'll find yourself mighty sore in the morning.
Easy. Peaceful. Free. Does it get any better?
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.