Headaches, Neck, Arm and Hands Pains
It is easier to understand that headaches are related to the neck than to comprehend that pains felt in the palm of the hand are also related to the neck. This lack of awareness causes a lot of people to unnecessarily undergo carpal tunnel release surgery (performed on the wrist). It was demonstrated that even after undergoing such surgery (when it was considered successful), the same symptoms often return. Stiffness and lack of adequate mobility in the upper back and shoulder blades cause one to move the neck, arm and hand in a manner that strains these joints, creating wear and tear that often result later in pain and damage.
Most of those who suffer from neck pain or headaches, which emerge from the neck, will turn to a physiotherapist (or even to the Internet) and acquire stretching exercises for the neck. Any kind of an exercise affecting the neck, whether it is stretching or strengthening, could not, over time, really help a sensitive neck. When one realizes that she is troubled by a neck problem, it is important to examine how she moves her head in relation to other parts of the body.
The Way the Neck Becomes over-Burdened
I remember observing a secretary at my child’s school, sitting hunched over, typing on the keyboard, alternating her gaze between the keyboard and the screen. The back is motionless. Every movement of the head comes from her neck. It’s hard to avoid noticing how neck pain are soon to materialize.
I also remember my 10-year-old daughter who came with me to a conference I had held. In response to a question from some of the participants, how to treat their neck pain, I called her to demonstrate how she looks up: Along with the head and gaze turned upwards, the sternum protruding forward and slightly upwards, automatically. Among adults such movement pattern is almost non-existent.
Optimally, when looking back over one’s shoulder, for example when driving in reverse gear, the shoulder at the side you are looking towards should move backwards and approach the spine, while the opposite shoulder should be moved forward and away from the spine. In addition, the torsional movement of the upper back vertebrae is activated.
In many cases all back movement is accomplished, utilizing neck and lower back’s vertebrae. Sometimes, just the acquisition of that insight would suffice in order to alleviate the burden from the neck; however, in most cases the body would need to produce muscles’ relaxation in the chest and shoulder blades, so that the shoulder blades and vertebrae participate in the movement.
If the Joints Could Just Speak
When maintaining a position for a long period of time, the joints are most comfortable in a neutral position: Without constant bending of the head (as in a beautician’s chair or as students tend to sit and these are but two example). likewise, such neutral position would entail avoiding projecting one’s chin forward; avoiding constant bending of the upper back and certainly avoiding constant tilting of the head to one side (as for example in the dentist’s chair). Finally, constant lifting of the hands should also be avoided to that same end.
And when that’s not enough, then it should be done with as much support as possible. When it comes to such postures in which we are engaged for long hours every day, support is essential for the well-being of the joints and the muscles around them. For example, the forearms must be supported (preferably by laying them on a desk) when sitting in front of a computer for long hours.
A Bill Will Be Submitted
In the absence of support, the muscles located between the neck and shoulders are forced to keep the hands “hanging” in the air. This continuous holding, lasting many hours during a day, day after day, for months and years, places a huge burden on these muscles and the only question left to be answered is when will we pay the price … for it is clear that the body will submit a bill.
And if movement is to be employed, then it should be a soft motion, which does not overload and even loosens up the relevant muscles, one that would improve posture, nourish the joints and allow their motor potential to be optimized. Learning this soft and creative movement is at the core of the Softness Method.
The Price We’ll Pay
Lack of maintaining a neutral state, lack of support and lack of soft mobility that would allow the motor potential to be optimized, lead to ever-growing erosion, that leads in its wake to pain which would have been easy to prevent if we knew what to watch out for. However, even after it had appeared it could certainly be diminished, even eliminated.
If, the pain can be treated effortlessly and without tension or pain, even prevented from recurring, what are we waiting for? For a peek at Softness, the Strength of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Combined program which is pertinent also for individuals suffering from fibromyalgia and / or chronic pain, click here.
Most of the important studies on the effect of Feldenkrais practice (which, along with physiotherapy, is the basis of the Softness Method I have developed), have been conducted on elderly population (65 and older). The positive experiences of my students are also recognized by the best researchers in the field and have been documented in research papers found in the U.S. National Studies Library, The Med Pub. One of the relevant abstracts can be reviewed at the link, below.
Studies have identified increased flexibility accorded practitioners as they learned awareness through movement. In a study of neck flexing among normal subjects, a significant increase in the amount of flexion, following a one-hour class, was demonstrable. Likewise, significant positive changes in muscle activity in the torso muscles were also observed.