Do you have neck pain? Then you will soon have back pain, if you don’t already. Why? Because they have the same cause, and you can diagnose it yourself. All you need is a mirror to follow these simple instructions.
But first, what is the connection? They are at opposite ends of your spine, and are both affected by ingrained postural habits we use every day, usually unthinkingly. Take a look at the picture below and see if you can identify these postures in modern man:
- A backwards-tilting pelvis that flattens your lower back or causes it to curve outwards in a “C” shape
- Resulting slumped shoulders that drag your neck with them
These postural habits cause pain because they 1) transfer the heavy lifting to your low back, instead of your gluteal muscles, and 2) force your neck, which is designed for mobility, not heavy lifting, to keep your head from collapsing forward.
Another cause of back and neck pain is a misalignment of the platform they ride on, namely the pelvis. If one side of your pelvis is higher than the other, it is like encountering a surprise step down with every single step you take.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and walk beside a mirror. Stop naturally, without trying to align your body.
- Look in the mirror at your side view and see which direction your belt line points. Is it flat or pointing up from back to front? If so, your pelvis is tilted backward.
- If you draw an imaginary line from the top of your head to the floor, does the line pass in front of your shoulders, hips, knees or ankles? If so, your head is tilted forward.
- Face the mirror frontwards and put a finger on the front of each hip bone. Is one finger higher than the other (this can be subtle)? If so, your pelvis is uneven.
The good news is you can treat each of these postural issues yourself, and lose your neck and/or back pain.