Happy Thursday everyone!
It’s been absolutely hectic in the last couple weeks and it’s been quite difficult to manage getting you guys more content, but once again I managed to scrap a few more hours together so that I may plant some more seeds of knowledge for us all to grow 🙂
The topic I’m going to address today is neck stiffness, and I’m going to show you a Myofascial Release technique to help address this specific problem.
Before I go into that technique, you might want to read the info I put below as it may be the most important to you in terms of biomechanical function. It all directly correlates to the neck stiffness and digs at the root of most dysfunction in a human body. However, if you are that impatient, there’s a link below with the video 🙂
The root of neck problems
An important concept to understand in life is knowing the notion that there is not one problem in the world that works in isolation. All problems are interlinked with many variables coming together at one given point. Einstein’s theory of relativity has proven this to be physical law, and it has become quite obvious to me that humans are not exempt from these laws. For example, If you are having neck stiffness or pain, most of the time that will be associated with a form of a neck protraction and flexion (neck coming forward).
What causes a neck protraction? Compensation of cervical flexion and protraction because the muscles at the thoracic spine are not fully engaging in extension. Why would the Thoracic musculature be so weak and unextendable? Because the Thoracic is forced to go into flexion due to Lumbo-pelvic failures in the lower abdomen and pelvic floor. If you’re not familiar with any of this jargin, I know it can seem a bit overwhelming, so I’ve decided to put a couple of examples of someone I have been working with over the past few weeks.
If you look at the picture above, you will notice my good friend Ross Pearson demonstrating what is his innately neutral posture. I know, it looks far from optimal but it’s what his body has decided to choose as its default.
1.) Analyzing the Lumbo-Pelvic Region- If you look at the Lumbo-Pelvic region you will notice an excessively swayed curvature. This is a result of some chronically overstimulated hip flexor muscles pulling the pelvis anteriorly, disengaging the hip extensors, all the while severely shortening the lumbar erector spinae muscles. This will then lead to a problem in the upper body.
2.) Analyzing the Thoracic Region- If we analyze the Thoracic region, we will notice a severe rounding coming anteriorly. This is purely an associated effort the body now has to make in order to sustain balance as a result of the Lumbo-Pelvic region’s mispositioning. This is a far from optimal example of what we want in this region of the spine as it is one of the most pivotal areas for effective and economic human movement. This is also going to be highly responsible for most cervical spine dysfunction, hence leading to tightness and injury.
3.) Analyzing the Cervical Region- Analyzing the Cervical region, we will notice a major forward burgeoning. This is once again the body’s feeble attempt at finding balance when improper motor control has been shunted. When the chain from the bottom up is disrupted, the neck is bound to be mispositioned, leading it towards compensation, bringing about an uncomfortable tight and stiff feeling in that cervical spine.
If you notice at the after shot, you will see Ross with a much different posture than was the case before. These are extremely precise muscular adjustments I had Ross do to get to this posture. My subjective measurements are that he was able to get himself to about 80 percent of where he needs to be in this given period of time.
1). Analysis of Gluteal region- If you will notice, the glutes are in a great position to fire on all cylinders because of an adjustment we made in the pelvic region. If the joint is in optimal alignment, the right muscles will fire. They will set the tone for the next portion of the spine.
2.) Analysis of Lumbar region- Now that the pelvic floor has been set in place, we can now see the Transverse Abdominis effectively engaging to support the lumbar spine. The Transverse Abdominis plays a key role as the support structure for the Thoracic Spine as it is the ground the T-spine will work off of. Where there is good TVA function there is effective Thoracic spine function.
3.) Analysis of the Thoracic region- Taking a look at the Thoracic region, we can now see a relatively flat upper back with much more activation happening then there was prior. Since the lower structures were so far out of place in the previous example, it would have been impossible for the muscles of the T-spine to get any efficient activation. Now that the positioning is right, we can open that posture and get that middle back locked in and ready to go.
4.) Analysis of the Cervical region- Presto Chango! Well not entirely, but we can definitely see an improvement of the positioning in the Cervical region from the prior example. Since all the lower vertebrae in this image are in better alignment, we can now expect that the behavior of the cervical spine should fall in line with good economy and range of motion, strength and flexibility.
It’s very important to take note that all these things don’t just happen in order. Posture is a unified effort and no one area of the places listed is more important than the other. They all have to work simultaneously if we can expect to truly get the mechanical efficiency we are desiring for our bodys.
Since I have now broken down what actually creates many cervical spine conditions, it might be important that you address those issues first before attempting the technique in the video below. The technique below can significantly reduce tension in the cervical region and prevent injury, but if it’s done in conjunction with a good neurological structural integration program, the results can be permanent. In my Human Foundations video series, I teach you how to realistically apply the exact science necessary to implement the structural adjustments I made in the pictures prior. Remember that putting a band-aid on a large wound will only do so much in the long run before that wound gets too big.
In the video below, I show you how to release a muscle that will commonly get tensed if your body is structurally out of alignment. That muscle is called the Sternocleidomastoid. It is highly responsible for limiting movement in the cervical region and it can be quite helping in alleviated neck stiffness.