It’s that moment, totally engrossed in a project at work, that without you really noticing it a gradual tightness creeps into your neck.
Focused on getting the project out, you override the short-term ache, but are left at the end of the day with stiffness in your neck and irritability. A few projects later, and from nowhere you develop a cracking headache. What to do, other than take a paracetamol and keep on going?
Stepping out to play a game of squash you tweak your neck and find yourself in agony. But how did all this start?
In our busy day to day lives, sending emails, working away at a computer all day, and kicking back to chill with Netflix in the evenings, it’s easy to forget how much we rely on our eyes. Out of all the senses, we now use our eyes the most, and the effect of this on our body health is huge.
Leading with our eyes
One of the commonest causes of neck pain is compression at the top of the spine, brought on by dominant eye focus.
If you want to know if you are an eye-dominant person, there’s a simple test.
The Eye Dominance Test
Step 1: Stand on one leg, & see how your balance is.
Step 2: Stand on one leg and close your eyes. If your degree of wobble increases, your balance is coming from your ability to fix on the horizon and not your body’s internal sense of balance and perception.
What are the implications of this?
The biggest impact of bringing the head forward is tension, pain and compression at the top of the spine. This is in the area where the top two vertebrae of the spine (C1 & C2) meet the base of the skull at the occipital bone.
This structural pattern leads to:
- neck stiffness
- transferred pain down into the arms
- pain around the eyes
- pain on one side of the face
- indirect lower back pain (as a result of counter balancing the head held forward)
Another key effect is the build up of pressure at the junction between the head and the body. One of the important anatomical structures here is a hole located at the base of the skull called the foramen magnum through which the nerves, spinal cord and blood vessels travel down from the brain to the body. When this hole is squeezed, these soft tissue structures are impacted and there is an effect on brain function, alertness and body regulation. This can all come into play, simply from this shift in daily posture and neck position.
How to bring about change
Fear not however as these areas of compression can be resolved. The body has a remarkable ability to change. One of the most effective ways of relieving your neck tension is through massage and physical therapy.
In my private practice, from my knowledge and experience in Craniosacral therapy and Myofascial release (a type of massage), I use a highly effective combination of gentle hands-on techniques to release these deeply bound constrictions. This brings about long lasting change – relieving stiffness, improving circulation and restoring pain-free movement.
When working with clients, it is a delight to see these shifts over a number of sessions and the ripple effect it has throughout their lives.
If you would like to find out more or would like advice on the symptoms you are experiencing to see if you could benefit, please get in touch.