Thursday, February 18, 2010

My neck pain is caused by my breathing - who knew?

You know the whole, the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone thing? There really is a lot too it. I'm a believer in how one part of the body affects another, but it's not always obvious and it can be a bit surprising when you learn about different connections.

As many of this blog's readers know, I separated my shoulder in December. I'm going for intense physio and therapeutic massage to get rid of the pain and regain good range of motion. This week, both my physio and my massage therapist worked on my upper back, the thoracic back because they both noticed that there was a problem there. I also just happened to mention to my physio that when I go for walks, my neck and shoulders begin to hurt, no matter how good my posture may or may not be.

You know what the problem is/was? My breathing. Somewhere down the road, I began using my upper back muscles to breath and not my abdominal muscles. So, when I go for a rapid or long walk, as I get tired, I start breathing harder, using those upper back muscles - which then become fatigued and sore.

I now have some exercises I have to do to try to retrain my mind and body to breathe properly. But I wonder how long I've been doing this and why I started doing this.

Anyway, now that I know, I can work on it and work on it, I will do. Now, do you know how you are breathing? Are you breathing properly? Or as I was?


Rick said...

In my experience as a physical therapist, most headaches and neck pain are due to the shoulder blades sitting too low on the trunk. I know this may sound odd but, to put it simply, there are muscles attaching from the shoulder blade directly to the first four neck vertebrae and skull. When the shoulders sit too low, these muscles then pull on the neck bones and skull causing neck pain and headaches.
Here's a quick, simple test to see if this is a contributing cause of your headaches. If you're having right-sided neck pain or headaches, raise your right hand and place it flat on top of your head for 20 seconds. Make sure your head doesn't side-bend or rotate to achieve this. If your pain diminished after this test, then your scapula may be sitting too low causing your discomfort. This is easily correctable. This is also the culprit in diagnoses such as thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. I've just written a book about fixing neck pain and headaches using an approach based on this mechanical connection to the shoulder and neck. It has been very effective over the last few years and I think is worth a try if you haven’t found the answers you are seeking.
I’ve also posted this and another test on YouTube, if you’re interested.
Rick Olderman

Marijke Durning said...

Thanks Rick, this is great information.