Neck pain is prevalent in a society becoming more reliant on technology, leading to several hours of sedentary desk work and confinement to sitting positions. While it is known that poor postural habits can lead to over-working of the neck muscles, a secondary and common condition that can further contribute to chronic neck pain is improper breathing mechanics. Breathing is an autonomic activity that does not require conscious thought. However, the majority of the general population does not use the most efficient breathing apparatus: our diaphragm.
In diaphragmatic breathing, the rib cage and abdomen is expanded through the muscular activity of the diaphragm to allow air to enter the lungs with inhalation. Unfortunately, most people have developed a pattern of chest breathing where the muscles of the neck and shoulders work to pull the rib cage upwards during inhalation. The neck and shoulder muscles can act as accessory muscles to assist in breathing, but they should not be the main players. Poor patterns of breathing are associated with chronic neck pain due to the increased workload and strain in the neck muscles that are already involved with spinal stability and postural support. Furthermore, in high stress or anxious situations, the body defaults to shallow chest breathing due to a heightened flight or fight response.
Chiropractic techniques such as rib cage mobilizations, spinal adjustments, and diaphragm muscle release can aid in restoring proper functioning to the breathing apparatus to decrease strain on the neck and shoulder muscles. When used in conjunction with the treatment of tight neck muscles, there can be a dramatic difference and improvement in decreasing neck pain, as well as helping to maintain a proper neutral posture.
When these techniques are used in conjunction with acupuncture, patients will see an enhanced benefit of the combined treatment. If the misaligned bones are the cause of the condition, the muscles are sure to be affected, and vice versa. Acupuncture treatment can be used at the start of the treatment to loosen and relieve tight muscles to allow for a smoother adjustment or, acupuncture is the end of the treatment to condition the newly reset muscles to hold the right positions. Patients who have experienced this type of treatment report benefits such as increased neck and upper back spinal mobility, improved posture, increased connection to core activation and stability, higher energy levels due to improved oxygenation to the body, and decreased muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
If you are experiencing neck pain make an appointment to see our Chiropractor by calling us at 646-882-6278.
Acupuncture for Pain Management.
Did you know stress and anxiety could be the cause of your pain? Learn more by watching the video below.
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