Long term health: managing neck strain
By Alanna Kinsman, Registered Massage Therapist
Neck problems are often the result of poor postural habits. When the head sits in front of the midline of our body and the shoulders are frequently rotated inward, a muscle strain pattern is created in the upper back and neck. This strain pattern generates a compressive force in the base of the skull, resulting in a lack of nerve supply and decreased circulation that gradually travels down the arm to affect functioning of the hands. Severe strain pattern can limit function in upper limb activities such as baseball, golf, video games, and typing - just to name a few.
Common symptoms of neck strain present as:
- Neck pain
- Decreased range of motion
- Weakness in the upper extremity (e.g. weakened grip strength)
- Numbness/tingling in the arms and hands
Common muscles associated with neck strain are the SCM (sternocleidomastoid), scalenes, pectoralis major/minor, levator scapula, and rhomboids. Below are some recommended neck stretches commonly given to aid in patient health.
Other tips to keep in mind when dealing with neck tension:
- Be aware of your postural habits
- Have a stretching routine
- Keep your neck in alignment when exercising
- Find a comfortable level pillow to decrease any discomfort in the neck and aid in sleep.
If you have any further questions on keeping your neck in tip top shape, contact us at Beech Street Health Centre to get an assessment and start your path toward wellness today.