Back & Neck Pain

Do you sit for a living? This BLOG post is for you!


What is it doing to your back & neck??

Other than an acute injury or trauma in a lot of cases tension, discomfort or pain in & around the neck, shoulders & back is caused by the way we sit & hold our posture the majority of the time.

We were never designed to sit on a chair, especially not with bad posture. Before the chair was invented we always squatted with a long spine & upright chest.

These days that is something most people can’t do even if they wanted too due to restrictions in muscle flexibility.

Poor posture can start in our early childhood years sitting in class hunched over a desk or carrying heavy backpacks around all day and can progressively develop over time into pain, discomfort and for some lifelong back & neck issues.

On the left is good postural alignment – where the plum line is running through the ear, middle of the shoulder (as well as the hip and ankle if they were in view).

On the right however we see that the head has migrated forward & the ear lobe no longer lines up. The spine from top to bottom is inter-related; notice how the curvature of the upper back, lower back, pelvis & rib angle has all changed. This is a good example of why sometimes when you have pain or a discomfort area you need someone that can look further than just where it hurts.

For every inch your head is forward in posture, you are adding the additional weight of your head to the C6/C7 vertebra of your neck. (Where the neck joins the back).

The effects are never felt immediately as neck and back problems develop over time. As a result of having a forward head posture and rounded shoulders, the angle of the first rib gets depressed.

The result of this is that major organs in your body will become compressed and not be able to sit in their proper location and position. This restricts them from proper healthy function and adds additional and unnecessary stress to your body. It will also affect your overall wellness, vitality, quality of life & breathing mechanics.

Quite often people will develop a fatty tissue deposit called a Dowager’s Hump located where the neck meets the upper spine, as the body attempts to stabilise the additional head weight.

There is also a huge pressure exerted on the spinal cord. Its ability to carry messages and feelings is restricted and impaired to the point where we suffer severe problems.

Other examples of areas affected by poor posture are poor lymphatic drainage and poor circulation throughout your body – the pump system including the heart, diaphragm etc.

The spine also houses the spinal cord, which is an intricate sensory network that runs through the vertebrae to transmit feeling and movement commands from the brain throughout the entire body.

When posture is poor we are putting pressure on the whole nervous system and this is extremely draining to our daily energy and vitality.

Being more aware of how you sit & taking breaks from sitting in front of the computer are great places to start but ultimately if your posture has moved away from optimal there will be imbalances in musculature that will need balancing to restore correct posture through stretching, strengthening & stabilization specific to your miss alignment.

Correcting Poor Posture

If you have forward head posture you will most likely have other related issues that also need to be addressed.

The only way to correct poor posture is to treat the body as a whole.

As a C.H.E.K. Practitioner, I will begin with a comprehensive in-depth Postural and Orthopedic Analysis. From this assessment I can determine which muscles are tight, weak or long.

Once a program has been designed to correct the imbalances in the body that are causing the discomfort or pain, the client begins to learn a specific stretching plan to stretch “the tight muscles only”. Upon mastering this we would move along to stabilize the spine and the weak muscles throughout the body that i find during the assessment.

From there we move into functional movement patterns that we do on a daily basis, to strengthen the body as a whole. This becomes the base of the strength and conditioning program to move the client into other goals that they may want to achieve. These may include things such as body fat loss, muscle shape/tone, and strength for home, work or sports.

Our body is just like a car.

We can be a vintage in great condition or a new model all beaten up and not running well. Age does not have to determine our condition.

If you have mild discomfort now, it will not correct itself, it will only amplify as time goes on.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

If you have imbalance in your body and you do a balanced fitness program you will have no chance to correct the imbalance. Fixing muscle imbalance is very individualized.

Your body needs to be coached out of imbalance through specific exercise as well as a re-education process that addresses every other area of your life, e.g. sitting, walking, lifting, working positions etc.

This is done at a neural, (brain) level. We have to re-educate the way that we think about our posture. Also, you could have the best exercise program in the world but if you did not apply the six foundation principles you may not have the ability to recover and repair. Using the 6 Foundation of health Principles we can support the postural correction with improvements in our overall wellness. For more on the 6 Principles visit my other BLOG posts on this website.

In this article you have read about the impact of poor head posture and the effect this has on our whole body. It is imperative to point out that any poor posture in any part of our bodies impacts on the rest of our body.

I am using Forward Head Posture as an example and it is only one common postural dysfunction that is required to be treated in many people.

Below is a video on foam rollers i did & how beneficial they can be to assisting in improving posture.

This is usually where I start with a client with upper back & neck issues to reduce pain, further treatment & consistent strengthening of weak muscles is required to reverse the postural issue.

For more info on any postural concerns or where to source the foam rollers contact me on 0417 446 531  

Information resourced from “C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 manual” from Paul Chek,

C.H.E.K Institute & Michelle Owen.





Comments are closed.