I’ve found neck issues are invariably secondary to the thoracic spine. Thoracic hyperkyphosis or hunch is pandemic due to the usage of smartphones, computers and driving. It’s not uncommon to see people texting with their heads at 45 degrees. That’s 22 kg acting on the cervical extensor muscles instead of the normal 5 kg when the head is upright. By standing upright the cervical spine is automatically brought into its correct alignment. This anterior head or forward head posture and associated thoracic hunch have far greater psychophysical ramifications than simply neck pain and migraine and headache. The ribs are held in exhalation downward inhibiting full inhalation, the primary respiratory muscles of the diaphragm is switched off and the accessory sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles that are in the neck overwork giving neck tension and pain. The sternum and chest are collapsed. The heart representing joy, the sovereign of all organs and the consciousness of one’s being is constrained. The head is thrust forward representing the dominance of the mental realm over the heart. Inspiration is inhibited. The capacity to be inspired in life is inhibited so too is the corresponding flow of chi and prana the life-enhancing essence that nature abundantly gives to all. In our left-brain, sympathetic nervous system dominant culture we could well benefit by this simple sequence of activating these skeletal muscles under our voluntary conscious control.
1/ activate or recruit the rhomboid and middle fibres of the trapezius with scapula retraction or coming together.
2/ activate the lower trapezius that lowers the scapula
3/ activate the deeper thoracic erector spine muscles that extend the thoracic spine.
The combined action raises the sternum, expands the ribcage facilitates a deeper and longer inhalation. Once the sternum is lifted, protract the head and neck with a vertical lift of the crown of the head and elongate or lengthen the posterior cervical neck extensor muscles and do an anterior to posterior glide of the jaw. The psychophysical implications are that the – head/mental realm/overactive mind- comes into balance with the heart shien. Less judgement and more heart openness and communication with others abound. The body-mind connection is seamless and can so easily be incorporated with a little mentoring. .