Headaches, Neck Pain, Back Pain and One Corrective Exercise

Functional Consequences of prolonged cervical protraction (forward head position)

Ouch! Unfortunately this is what too many people look like at work. I know I do from time to time when I get lazy! This post will touch on forward head posture and the video will touch on a great practical solution to help to re-teach diaphragmatic breathing.

In the above scenario if we take a segmented view;

1) The following muscles are lengthened;
Longus coli, longus capitis, anterior and middle scalenes

2) The following muscles are shortened;
Rectus capitis major, obliquus capitis superior, rectus capitis minor, splenius cervis, splenius capitis, sternocleidomastoid, semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, cervical multifidi, cervical interspinalis, spinalis cervicis, longissimus capitis, longissimus cervicis, upper trapezius

3) The following joints are compressed;

Atlanto-occipital joint, atlanto-axial joint

What do I see this lead to???

This could lead to a lower activation threshold for the secondary muscles of inhalation, (scalenes, intercostals, upper trap etc.), these tissues could become synergistically dominant over the diaphragm and lead to dysfunctional breathing patterns, this could yield to less than optimal oxygen intake which could lead to increased stress levels which can lead to further activation of tissues that have a previously lowered activation level (see shortened muscles, secondary muscles of inhalation etc.) which can propagate even further dysfunction through the kinetic chain.

Shortened tissues with restricted blood flow may develop “trigger points” which could lead to headaches of referred tension to other tissues that may create even further dysfunction throughout the kinetic chain.

Remember to watch the short 3 1/2 minute video on diaphragmatic breathing below!

Thanks for reading!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Nice video, I liked it.

    You might find it easier to show your low back rising and falling–or any other form or posture–if you wore lighter colored clothes. The black all seems to run together on camera.

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