Body Mechanics Matter
While the focus of this blog is on head and neck pain, this area is not isolated from the rest of our body. We will look at the rest of our system starting a little further down the chain. If one part of the chain is out of sorts, it affects areas in other parts of the chain.
Mateo’s Perfect Lifting Mechanics
Mateo lifts in a way that best protects his joints. He exerts no excess stress on any joint, but his method distributes pressure more equally throughout his body. He even looks straight ahead to avoid pulling on the neck muscles from a bent neck. His core abdominal muscles keep his trunk stable so there is good linkage between his lower and upper extremities.
He is conscious of his posture. His hips are also protected, which can help him further up his muscular chain. People can strain their hips too with poor body mechanics and develop problems further up the chain.
Consequently, you may find it worthwhile to digress a moment from headaches to see how you can help a common pain condition.
Hoist Your Hips!
My headache and neck pain clients often report they have hip pain as one more orthopedic affliction to deal with. Many of my clients just dismiss the idea they can get their hip pain better. They just have no choice but to live with it, so they think.
Here is simple but effective idea for those of you with hip pain. Sit with pillows under your hips. Why? You need to get your hips at a higher level than your knees.
Do not sit far down into your couch or chair with your knees at higher elevation than your hips. This position puts more pressure on the back part of your hip capsule, which can result in hip pain.
Sit at your dinner table with one or two pillows under that hard chair. Take your center sofa pillow and put it on the top of the one next to your armrest. Perch yourself up higher and your hip will be happier.
I do not want to reduce a hip pain problem you have been dealing with for a long time to such a simple solution. But when it works, you will feel better in just several minutes. The point is to decrease the compressive force you have been putting on your ailing hip.
Help Your Back and Neck Too!
When you lift your hips up, your back will automatically have less of a slump. Take a lumbar roll or back cushion and slide it behind your back to further get rid of that slump. My clients often note that back pain eases once they come out of that back-flexed forward posture.
This idea is most likely to help you when you have back pain when you sit too long. Some back tissues do not tolerate prolonged sitting pressure well. However, if sitting does not bother your back, but standing does, this idea will not help you as much.
You may take the edge off your shoulder blade pain as well by correcting problems further down the chain. People occasionally tell me they have less shoulder blade and neck strain when their back position is comfortable.
Most People Have Poor Posture!
Virtually no one comes to the clinic and tells me their posture is good. Their neck generally sticks forward over their trunk to some extent. It seems more people have “abnormal, poor posture” than those who have “normal, erect posture.” So, if the “abnormal” posture is normal, do you have to worry about it?
Maybe, maybe not. The question is, does posture correction have any effect on your affliction, be it hip, back, neck jaw or headache? We like to give you techniques that can reduce your pain quickly during an individual session. Postural exercises may or may not be the answer.
Frequently, if you correct your neck posture your headache pain diminishes quickly. However, frequently nothing happens to your headache pain at all when you do postural exercises. In that case we search out other possibilities besides posture that may be the source of your headache.
Likewise with jaw dysfunction. If you have put up with annoying clicking in your jaw, you may be delighted when simple neck posture correction decreases it. You may still have the jaw clicking no matter how perfect your posture is. In that case, we look to alternatives to your problem. Posture just is not going to be one of them.
Find Your Unique Body Mechanic Glitches!
Your physical glitches may be different than the next person’s. Therefore, find the exercise program or techniques that fit your problem and stick to it! We like to be your coach to help you identify your specific issues to work on.
Most of us are not going to do a long laundry list of activities even if it does help us. Consequently, find those few things that work best for you. Focus on those few things to make it easy to fit into your daily schedule. Consistency counts. Posture correction may or may not fit into your useful daily bag of tricks.
You may want to work on your postural exercises, but maybe just every week or two for aesthetic purposes. You may want to prevent the effects of gravity from fixing you in a slumped position as you age.
At any rate, awareness of your body’s position and glitches is key to having your best pain-free life!
-You understand that if not done properly, some techniques and exercises described in this blog could harm you. Any activities you perform are at your own risk, and you expressly agree to waive any claims against the author for any harm that may arise from your own actions. By reading this blog and conducting these exercises, you accept this risk. This blog provides content related to physical and/or mental health issues. As such, your use of techniques described acts as your acceptance of this disclaimer.
-Consult Chapter 2 in my book, “Calming the Headache Storm” to make sure the headache is not the sign of a more serious problem. The techniques, advice and strategies contained in this blog may not be suitable for every individual and should be abandoned if your headache increases. Seek the advice of your physician.