Neck and shoulder pain are the two most common complaints I see in my practice. I’ve just found two YouTube videos that animate the anatomy of the cervical spine and surrounding area to show more of what happens when you move.
In the first video, you’ll get a look from the outside in of the cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord and the intervertebral disks. Notice the amount of space between the bones to allow the nerves to branch out into the body. It’s not a lot of room. Also, as you watch this first one, take a peek at how flexible the spinal cord has to be to account for the range of motion of head movements. The spinal cord must connect into the brain AND be able to adjust to lateral flexion, rotation of the head and anterior and posterior tilting of the head.
Now take a look at this next video (embedding disabled so you’ll have to open YouTube to watch it), and you’ll see an animation that starts with the cervical spine, and then shows all the layers of muscles that support and move the head. It’s not just a muscle or two, but many dense layers of muscles that control how the head moves, supports it while you’re sitting or standing and allow for movement as your head or your body moves.
Just looking at all the muscles and tissue layers involved makes it obvious the delicacy of the balance between functioning well and dysfunction of the neck and shoulder region. Keep in mind the fact that poor forward head posture can make the head much heavier to support on the spine with every inch forward your head is from its natural position.
What can you do to help your own neck and back:
- Set up your computer or laptop workstations correctly
- Take frequent breaks when working or doing anything that requires looking downward or upward for a long time
- Stretch your neck daily
- Use self-massage to keep things loose between massages with a professional
- Check out this article on easy tips to help your neck
So take a peek at the two videos and you’ll learn something about yourself, and maybe get a little motivation to start taking care of your neck and shoulders to keep everything moving smoothly.