It has been estimated that ten to twenty percent of adults suffer from chronic or persistent neck pain. This pain can be due to trauma or poor postural habits. Trauma induced pain is often a result of sports injuries or accidents that involve a sudden acceleration or deceleration of force, resulting in whiplash. Pain from poor posture is often due to more a sedentary, computer driven lifestyle that results in the head to be pushed forward. This creates a misalignment between the head and the shoulders in which the head protrudes in front of the shoulders in stead of on top of them. In addition, the upper back rounds, furthering the misalignment. This type of poor posture has adverse affects on the muscles of the neck, upper back, shoulders and chest. Muscles in the neck and back become elongated and weak while the muscles in the neck and chest become tight and short. Yoga can help correct and prevent this type of posture by teaching new sitting habits and strengthening the back muscles while loosening the neck and chest muscles, creating a balance that keeps the head properly aligned. Yoga can help augment the affect of chiropractic care as well. Yoga exercises can help loosen muscles and prevent guarding and compensation for other muscles. This can help a chiropractor adjust more easily.
Once the spine is properly aligned after receiving chiropractic care, yoga can help to strengthen muscles through a series of poses that help to keep the spine in proper alignment. Folding poses can help calm the central nervous system and allows the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions of the spine to stretch and decompress. Bridge poses increase the range of motion of the spine by moving it in the opposite direction. Eagle poses help to open the cervical spine and shoulders, reducing muscle tension in the upper back. These poses can help to strengthen muscles and improve posture, potentially leading to a reduction in back pain. The physical benefits of yoga include increased strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. It also provides a natural option for lowering blood pressure and reducing ones stress and anxiety levels. Yoga is not a quick fix for back and neck pain. It takes time to strengthen the muscles in the back and core to be able to hold these poses. Pain relief is gradual as these muscles become stronger. Once pain relief does occur, maintaining yoga practices is crucial to ensure that the spine is properly aligned.
American Chiropractic Association: https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=2526
Yoga International: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/heal-your-neck-shoulder-pain
St. Lawrence University '15
Mirror Lake Chiropractic Intern