Neck Pain Exercises-treat your own neck pain by using the best neck exercises and learn which are the worst for your neck.

Neck Pain Causes

How to fix your neck pain without going broke in the process

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

Neckache is commonly misunderstood. I will show you just how easy it is to fix neck ache without having to get numerous treatments, without hours of stretching and without pain killers or surgery.

I am also going to show you why getting treatments or doing exercises for your neck ache is generally a fruitless pursuit. You can seek out the purported best neck exercises but none of these will give you anything more than temporary relief at best.I am going to  explain to you why you have been suffering from either  recurrent bouts of pain or constant pain and what you must do to become pain free permanently. This is not something magical, it has nothing to do with gimmicks or gadgets, it is simply about physics, the laws of gravity and your body mechanics. This is the answer to removing your neck ache. It is simple and straighforward and will make perfect common sense to you.

Firstly: No amount of Treatments,  anti-inflammatories, exercises for your neck ache, yoga classes, Pilates, TENS, Ultrasound, osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Massages or stretches will ever keep your neck pain free permanently if you do not remove the causes.

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Dowagers hump can lead to an earlier death, study shows

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

In a study published in the May 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that older white women with both vertebral fractures and hyperkyphosis had an elevated risk for earlier death. The finding was independent of other factors that included age and underlying spinal osteoporosis.

Women who had only hyperkyphosis( rounded thoracic spine), without vertebral fractures, did not show an increased risk for premature death.

Hyperkyphosis is caused by habitual poor posture and degenerative diseases of the muscles and intervertebral discs and is further worsened by osteopenia or osteoporosis.

“Just being bent forward may be an important clinical finding that should serve as a trigger to seek medical evaluation for possible spinal osteoporosis, as vertebral fractures more often than not are a silent disease,” said Dr. Deborah Kado, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s primary investigator. “We demonstrated that having this age-related postural change is not a good thing. It could mean you’re likely to die sooner.”

The researchers did the study on 610 women, age 67 to 93, from a cohort of 9,704 participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.
Adjusting for age, as well as osteoporosis-related factors such as low bone density, moderate and severe vertebral fractures, and the number of prevalent vertebral fractures, the researchers found that women with previous vertebral fractures and increasing degrees of spinal curvature were at increased mortality risk from the spinal condition, regardless of age, smoking, spinal bone-mineral density, or the number and severity of their spinal fractures.

These study findings provide evidence that it is not just vertebral fracture alone but the associated increased spinal curvature that may be most predictive of adverse health outcomes. Other studies linking hyperkyphosis to poor health, such as impaired physical function, increased fall risk, fractures and mortality, have been unable to exclude the possibility that vertebral fractures alone were the underlying explanation for the findings.

I have written before that dowagers hump is completely avoidable. It is a postural problem that is worsened by ostoporosis. If you have a dowagers hump you need to do therapeutic exercises to avoid worsening your condition and also start adjusting your posture in everything that you do

How is your posture right now?

A dowagers hump cure?

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A Dowager’s Hump Cure?

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

A dowager’s hump is a rounding of the upper back, sometimes known as an excessive kyphosis. It is strongly associated with osteoporosis or osteopenia. There are two things that you must do to help this condition from getting worse. Oh and by the way, A dowager’s hump is completely avoidable.

But firstly, Let’s have a quick look at a few facts.

Osteopenia is a narrowing of the bones whereas osteoporosis is where the bones have become porous.  Osteoporosis is also avoidable and contrary to popular opinion, is not a calcium deficiency due to lack of calcium intake, it’s a calcium deficiency due to lack of calcium absorption.

Furthermore, milk is not a good source of calcium because it is not absorbed easily by the body. It is not necessary to drink milk for healthy bones. When was the last time you saw a gorilla slipping down to the shops for a pint of milk?

There are much better foods that you can eat that are absorbed readily by the body such as certain nuts and green leafy vegetables. Another thing, men are at risk of getting osteoporosis- this is not a ‘woman’s disease’. You may have seen people with dowager’s humps. They tend to affect women over 50 and you will see a rounding of the upper back, and perhaps a fatty hump at the base of the neck. The reason is that due to poor posture and weak bones due to either osteoporosis or osteopenia,  the thoracic vertebrae start to collapse and become wedge shaped at the front.

I have spoken about poor posture in regards to neck pain and its damaging effects on lower back, rotator cuffs, hips, upper backs and increased risk of degenerative joint disease and here we see it again. Your posture is key!

If you spend your time sitting and standing in a slouched position you round your whole spine. This puts your neck in a forward posture, your chin juts out, this is known as the forward head posture. It is the major cause of neck pain. It  also happens to be the major cause of your dowagers hump! If you think about it-osteoporosis doesn’t make your vertebrae wedge shaped at the front causing your neck to round, your posture does. The osteoporosis just makes the problem worse due to the weakness in your vertebrae.

When you sit ‘tall’ in correct posture you align the spine vertically so that your spinal curves are in correct position. It is only then that the forces on your vertebrae are evenly distributed. The spine is stacked one on top of the other very much like you stack blocks one on top of each other.

So sitting tall and standing tall you place your spine in good position, the muscles are now engaged, which makes them stronger  whilst you retain good posture . The laws of  gravity are now pushing down through the centre of each of your vertebrae not down through one side.

As soon as you start to slouch, whether it be standing or sitting you then put your vertebrae into flexed positions. (They are all tipping forward.) As you continue to sit and stand like this your spine starts to wear down especially so if you suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia. The vertebrae then eventually collapse where there is excessive weight-the front portions of your vertebrae. You no longer have nice block shaped vertebrae, now you have wedges. This is an avoidable condition through correcting both your diet and posture.

Imagine the tires on your car. If they are badly aligned they will wear unevenly. One side of the tire will be fine whilst the other side takes all of the weight of the car and gets worn down very quickly. Iif you left it long enough it would collapse which is excatly what happens to your vertebrae!

The major difference is that you can get a new set of tires but not a new set of vertebrae.

If you  have a dowagers hump it is essential that you  do corrective exercises to retrain your muscles. Prolonged forward head posture creates major muscular imbalances and these MUST be addressed. You need to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak long ones.

Moreover, If you are doing exercises like bringing your knees to your chest, pulling your arms across your chest to stretch the backs of your shoulders and others like this you are worsening your problem! You are putting more pressure on your weakened vertebrae and stretching your already overstretched muscles.

If you want to know more check out my DVD.

 Treat your own neck pain DVD OUT NOW

It has everything you need in order to treat and remove the causes of your dowagers hump. It shows you how to correct your posture and the corrective exercises to help your dowagers hump.

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Whiplash, Neck Pain and Soft Collars-should you use them?

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes |

Scenario: you have a car accident, you have whiplash, you have neck pain, you go to the doctor and he recommends pain killers and a soft collar to be worn for the next month. What is wrong with this picture? Everything.

It used to be common practice for doctors to prescribe the use of soft collars for a month, 2 months or more based on the premise that protecting the area will allow the area to heal and therefore make you better. Unfortunately, this thought process is wrong. The use of a soft collar should be minimal at most. If you leave your neck in a soft collar for an extended length of time your neck can get worse not better. The same applies to all of your joints. Any of you who have had perhaps a sprained ankle for example will know that a physiotherapist will ask you to start moving it as soon as possible in a pain free range of movement. If it is still too sore you will be asked to do isotonic exercises( putting load on the tendons and ligaments without the actual joint moving) to make the structures heal more quickly. You want to have a strong and flexible repair and that is exactly why you should start  a stretching and strengthening program as soon as the inflammatory phase has finished.(normally within the first 2-3 days)

Your neck ladies and gentlemen is no different. If you leave your neck static, bound up in a collar, muscles and other soft tissues atrophy (waste away) and the joints stiffen. The same is with your sprained ankle, lock it up with tape for a month and you will come out of that tape MUCH WORSE than the person who got their joint and soft tissues moving almost straight after their injury.

In a nutshell, if you have neck pain you need to get it moving as soon as possible (as pain permits). Here are some related studies showing what the medical community now knows:

From  netdoctor.co.uk  on ‘What Causes Whiplash?’

“Research has shown that whiplash patients who rest for several weeks and wear a soft collar actually recover more slowly than those who try to follow a normal routine.”

And from patient.co.uk in ‘Whiplash Neck Strain’:

“In the past, some people have worn a neck collar for long periods after a whiplash sprain, and have been reluctant to move their neck. Studies have shown that you are more likely to make a quicker recovery if you do regular neck exercises, and keep your neck active rather than resting it for long periods in a collar.”

And from ‘The Enigma of Whiplash Injury’ by W.F Young:

“Mealy and associates, in a prospective randomized trial comparing use of a soft cervical collar and analgesic medications with a regimen of active therapy, found that the group treated actively had significant improvement in both neck pain and mobility compared with the group treated with a soft collar.”

The American Academy of Orthopedic surgeon’s reports:

“In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. However, the current trend is to encourage early movement, rather than immobilization. The soft collar may be used for a short term and on an intermittent basis.”

“In a third prospective randomized study… Patients encouraged to remain at their normal level of activity had a better outcome than patients treated with immobilization and time off from work.”

Once again, it’s vitally important to get your joints(s) moving as soon as possible after the initial inflammatory phase to encourage proper scar tissue formation, decrease your healing time and have a strong and flexible joint to allow you to get back to your full range of activities and enjoy life to the fullest.

 

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How do you get rid of muscle knots? Easy, by removing the causes

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

So many people suffer from hard and painful muscle knots between their upper back and between their shoulder blades and it is so easy to fix. If you remove the causes you can remove your painful muscle knots. These knots, as they are known, are tight areas of muscle which are not only tight but become painful as well. This is because they are in a state of near-constant contraction. And muscles do not like to be contracted continually.

Imagine if I asked you to curl your bicep like a bodybuilder and hold it hard, contracting, contracting and contracting. Imagine I wanted you to keep contracting your bicep like that for 2 hours. Firstly, you would even be able to do it because you would fatigue AND your arm would be very painful. This is because your bicep hurts if you try to contract it for a long time just like any other muscle. If you did this for long enough you would get trigger points which can also refer pain. You may have even heard of these things, they are known as myofascial trigger points (myo means muscle and fascia permeates throughout the muscle).

When you sit slouched over the computer, or reading with your head down over a book, or sewing or driving with your head forward you are creating enormous loads on your muscles at the back of your neck and between your shoulder blades. In fact, every inch your head is forwards of the correct alignment produces an extra 10 lbs of load on your neck. A person who is slouched over their laptop will produce upwards of 25lbs on their muscles and joints. This constant need for your muscles to contract then produces pain and knots. Then you will also get active trigger points and can also suffer from referred pain from these such as headaches at the base of the skull and forehead.

You can get myofascial release, Rolfing, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic or whatever other therapy or gadget that you happen to be recommended and the results will never be anything more than temporary. You have not removed the cause! Once you remove the cause and allow the muscles to stop constantly having to attempt to hold your head up from falling on the ground you will start to see your knots ease. They will be able to relax because the cause of the problem will be gone. My new DVD will show you exactly how to do this.

 

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A Warning about Cortisone Injections for your Pain

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

A warning about cortisone injections for your pain

I feel that I need to warn you about cortisone injections and the possible harm they can inflict.

I was speaking to a good friend of mine who was in a great deal of pain. I asked him what had happened and he told me that a rather small problem that he had had was now a big problem. He explained to me that he had had been suffering from pain in his Achilles tendon. The doctor didn’t seem to know why he had this pain so he recommended that he get a series of cortisone injections to ‘see how that went’. After the first one he felt a bit better, then the next he felt better again and a few days before he was scheduled for his third injection he felt ‘like someone hit him in the back of the calf’ and now he had severe bruising in and around his Achilles tendon and ankle and was no longer able to walk without the aid of crutches. The doctor took a look at him and couldn’t understand what had happened so sent him off to get some physiotherapy for his ankle. This is where he should have gone to in the first place

So what is wrong with this picture?

Why don’t we first take a look at cortisone injections themselves? They have been around since the 1950s and are used to decrease tissue inflammation so that the area can then heal. This is the theory. But why is the area inflamed? This is the number one priority-getting to the cause of the problem not just treating the symptoms. Let’s take a look at another example.

I will use and example of a new client who came to see me last week. This person was suffering from neck pain and had tried everything from prolotherapy to acupuncture to chiropractic to Rolfing. However, his pain still existed. The whole time he was speaking to me he was sitting in a slouched forward head posture. I could see by his posture that this was his major problem and would be our first area to look at. The thing about poor posture and particularly a forward head posture is that it affects the upper back, neck, shoulders, lower back and so on and so forth. A forward head posture has a huge knock-on effect throughout the rest of the body. In other words, many of your problems will be caused (and fixed) by addressing this first.

I knew by looking at him that his shoulders were also forward and internally rotated which will impinged the shoulder joint and set him up for shoulder problems.  I asked him if he had had shoulder problems in the past and he said ‘oh sure, I have had 3 cortisone injections in the left shoulder and 2 in the right but they didn’t really work’.

Of course they ‘didn’t really work’ because the cortisone injections will never fix the cause of the problem which is known as ‘upper crossed syndrome’ or ‘rounded shoulders’ or  ‘shoulders that are too far forward and internally rotated which lessen the space in the shoulder joint and cause impingement or better put, constant mashing of the soft tissues.’ The cortisone may have had a temporary effect as it reduced the inflammation and impingement but the cause of the problem was never addressed (i.e. shoulders too far forward and internally rotated causing pain and inflammation) and therefore after a short while the pain returned.

The story doesn’t end there. Not only do cortisone injections hurt but they have a corrosive effect on the cartilage and soft tissues. This, I don’t need to tell you, is NOT GOOD!

This brings me back to my friend with the Achilles tendon problem.

The major cause of prolonged pain and dysfunction from injuries is from lack of appropriate rehabilitative exercises. If you have an injury you MUST do stretching and strengthening exercises as soon as possible. (After the initial 48 hour inflammatory phase).

So my friend has, in my opinion, been getting treatment in ‘backwards- forwards land.’ He has come to see the doctor and instead of getting treatment for it such as physical therapy, which means stretching and strengthening exercises and soft tissue/joint therapies he was given cortisone injections. Here was a person who needed to strengthen his tendon and stretch it out to recover it to full function but what he got instead was something that masked the problem. He should have been getting therapy to allow the fibers to knit into a strong and flexible repair so that he could regain his strength in the soft tissues. However, instead he was now walking and running around with a torn tendon but now he could apply more pressure through the tendon thanks to the analgesic properties of the cortisone. Now, he could walk harder and faster which enabled him to damage his tendon further. Every pain free step would enable him to tear those tiny fibers more and more until finally something had to give- and it did. His tendon, thanks to the deadening effects of the cortisone and the added benefits of the corrosive properties of the cortisone pushed his Achilles tendon past breaking point and it snapped. Where is my friend now? He is getting physiotherapy 3 times a week to try to heal the area which is now much worse than the original problem.

So my advice to you is this. Just because your doctor or therapist doesn’t know why you have pain is no reason to jump into a series of cortisone injections. They are not good for your body, they are a corticosteroid. There is no reason to start putting more chemicals into your body when you may not have to. Seek another opinion. More than that, make sure that the cause is being addressed not just the symptoms. Are your shoulders painful because of major muscular and structural imbalances? Can you stop your osteoarthritis getting worse simply by postural and structural modifications?

If a person has sciatica and back pain because they have disc bulges in their lower back and need surgery I would want to see first why they have disc bulges in the first place. Is it because they sit slouched at their desk all day and night? Is it because they lift things poorly? If this is the case, and they elect to have surgery and do not stop these bad habits, what is stopping the next weakest links above and below the fusion from doing the same thing? Nothing. If you have blown your L5-S1 disc because of these very reasons and then after surgery( all going well) you feel better but continue to sit, stand and lift poorly you will put these same forces on your discs AGAIN and the problems will still be there. You are still causing your discs to be pushed backwards, straining your ligaments and soft tissues. Likewise, a cortisone shot will not fix your back pain from bad lifting techniques if you continue to lift badly

Your neck is no different. You MUST remove the cause of your neck pain.

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