Shoulder stiffness and neck pain are two examples of the most common complaints people see a chiropractor for. In this article, we will explain how a healthy curve in the neck can help eliminate this pain and stiffness once and for all!
In a normal spine, the structure of the neck should sit directly over the shoulders. When a structural shift has occurred in the neck, the head moves forward in a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. When this shift occurs, we’ll often find “vertebral locking” in the spine. The combination of these two causes the shoulder muscles to spasm in an attempt to support the extra weight caused by the structural shift.
Tight shoulder muscles are “secondary conditions”. This is because, as you might have guessed, they are a result of the structural shift in the spine. Those tight muscles are the reaction, not the true cause of the problem! Other secondary conditions often associated with this are pain or numbness in the shoulders, neck, and into the hands, as well as headaches. Anterior Head Syndrome is most commonly found in those who sit or are at a computer all day, but can be found in many others as well. If left uncorrected for an extended period of time, spinal degeneration will often take place.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example below!
In the picture, you will notice normal structure on the left. There is a banana-shaped curve towards the front and the vertical blue line touches the front of the spine. You will also notice the distance between the yellow line and the shoulders (the shoulders appear as the hazy white area below the yellow line). On the right, we can see an x-ray of someone who has the very clear indicators of Anterior Head Syndrome. Their head is shifted forward, and you will notice the lack of curve. Additionally, you can see the space between the blue line and the front of the spine. Since the shoulders are supporting extra weight, they become tense. Think of raising your shoulders up towards your ears instead of in a normal, relaxed position.
Our focus as chiropractors is on correcting the structural issue in the spine, and the secondary issues will be resolved as the body heals itself. As the structure is corrected, the body will function at a higher level and optimal health can be achieved! Click here to check out what to expect on your first visit with us, and book your first visit today!