Knots in your neck? The start of a vicious cycle!

Do you ever wake up with a horrible pain in your neck?  You know... when your neck just feels awful?

Or how about when your shoulder hurts all day but you can’t explain why?  You just say, I must've slept on it wrong.

But, what if I told you these seemingly harmless pains are early symptoms of deeper problems.  

Problems that will eventually lead to migraines, back problems, or even muscle tears?

The most common chronic pains and injuries all start with misalignment… better known as Poor Posture.

I didn't realize this at first, but after about 1000 patients I started noticing a pattern.

Almost every patient spent long periods of time sitting at a computer, hunched over, EVERY DAY!  

This was putting pressure on their spines and having some really damaging effects.

I would often see neck injuries, shoulder problems, rotator cuff tears, and upper back problems... all of which are probably caused by years of poor posture.

Medically this is called Upper Crossed Syndrome, but it’s more commonly observed as slouching.

Check out the illustration below, my patients looked like the patient in the middle or even on the right in some cases.

Pressure On Your Spine(Poor Posture Increases Pressure On Your Spine) 

If you look like the person in the middle or on the right, you should probably start actively thinking about improving your posture.  

For every inch forward that you slouch, you add 10-12 lbs of pressure to your spine.

As the pressure builds... your shoulder, back, and neck muscles will weaken.  Making your slouch worse.  Which further increases pressure... setting a vicious cycle in motion.

How can we stop the cycle?

Well you’re going to have to do three things… massage those tight muscles, stretch them, and strengthen them.

  1. Massage

Standing with your back to the wall, take a small firm ball (like a lacrosse ball) and place it on the back of your neck where the base of your skull meets you neck. Avoid the cervical spine, but place pressure on the muscles from the base of the skull down to where the neck meets the shoulder.

  1. Stretch

(Brendan shows how to do a neck stretch to improve posture)

  1. Strengthen

For every tight muscle you have, you have a weak muscle that is not creating stability or functioning properly to produce force without joint compromise.

Most of these muscles can be strengthened with simple pulling or rowing type exercises.

This one is easy, keep your chin level and pull your head straight back so that you are giving yourself a double chin. Hold this position for 30 seconds and do 3 sets. This will work the deep cervical flexors and help pull your head and neck back into proper positioning.

Finally, these exercises will help you heal, but I can not stress this point enough: Nothing will work without addressing poor posture habits.

American’s average more than 9 hours sitting everyday and unfortunately, even an hour of exercise is not enough to combat this alone.

Practice good sitting habits. Our posture challenge includes ways to arrange your desk for optimal sitting so that you can keep your head looking forward, shoulders back, and sitting upright.

In my experience, the combination of exercise and changes to your posture habits can do wonders… even help you avoid expensive surgeries.   

If you have questions, shoot me an email at, and I would be happy to help you with your issue.

Brendan Ridings
Corrective Exercise Specialist &
Inventor Of The Posture PT

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