(from Part 1)
While I’m certain that there are many possible reasons for CNSNSP (Chronic Non-Specific Neck and Shoulder Pain that we described in Part 1), as far as I’m concerned for now, there are four causes:
First two are relatively easy to explain. Let’s start with “Muscle Imbalance“
By definition this is where a certain group of muscles are excessively stronger/shorter/more active than another that is relatively too weak/long/inactive (most commonly antagonistic muscles – they are muscles of opposite action that when working well, produce balance).
I’m not going to go very deeply into this but I will say that the most accurate way to discern this is by having a trained set of eyes observe you while you exercise that often involves onset of pain. If you have an imbalance it should be picked up by the observer, and hopefully remedial exercises given.
Here is an excellent example, although it is not quite obvious on the photos and she is not exercising.
Anna*, one of the dancers whom we see regularly, has had long-term neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches. Contrary to the popular belief and fairly common example where “the upper trapezius (or “trap) muscles are too tight relative to the lower ones”, Anna’s case is the opposite.
She depresses the shoulder blades far too excessively and makes far too much effort to make the neck longer. The result is that her neck and upper trap muscles are needlessly and disproportionately stretched out. Consequently putting load on the soft tissue as well as sensitising the nerve trunks such as brachial plexus by the means of stressing the neurodynamics of the nerves (sort of flexibility-tolerance of the nerves).
It’s kind of like a rubber-band that is constantly stretched out to the max.
We actually get her to activate the upper traps while she exercises under our supervision and she looks a lot better and she feels so as well. The below is what we would consider a better “balance”:
Not much difference right? Because it can be quite subtle. Well, for our above patent it is anyway. If I put a ruler to it it would be about just a bit less than 1cm difference.
Anyhow, in most cases, if you 1) exercise regularly 2) do variety of exercises 3) ensure the variety of exercises that you do is “balanced”, you should be pretty fine with the muscle balance issue.
However let me elaborate what I mean by the balance in “the variety of exercises that you do”. I’ll give you some examples:
Here is a very important point though: your natural disposition or characteristics of the body (e.g. posture) dictates quite a bit of how your “balance” might be affected. That’s why you will need a health professional.
In part 3 (coming soon) we’ll look at compromises local blood flow caused by chronic muscle tension.
” I L O V E this place. The fantastic competent people who are running it and the holistic approach and philosophy behind it. This is a clinic where you are in the best hands you can wish for. Many thanks to my lifesaver of many times, Josh!!”
– Birgit Post