Can slouching cause neck & shoulder pain is a question asked of me at my Myrtle Beach clinic often. While the easy answer is yes, it is very important to understand how and why this occurs.
There was a study in Sweden where patients were hooked up to various equipment such as EMGs, muscle testing equipment and so on. Simple exercises were performed by the group such as lifting the arm up and down. The group was made to perform this with good posture first and then again with poor posture.
The study team then measured the differences in muscles and other things such as reach. The results were not unsurprising in that in the poor posture testing, the ability to move the arms up and down did not reach full range, and secondly, it took far more energy to move the arm up and down in the first place. Speed of movement was also affected.
So basically, the results showed an inferior range of motion, more energy was required to perform the same movement, and speed was reduced. Not surprising, but why?
Basically it comes down to mechanics. The body is designed to operate a certain way to function properly. When this function is impeded or altered in some way, then it makes it harder to complete these basic exercises.
What does this have to do with neck & shoulder pain?
After accident care, the next most common neck and shoulder complaint I see relates to this in the form of repetitive strain disorders. Many patients comment that they can’t think of anything that may have caused the pain, but the reality is, it’s very likely their symptoms started a while before. Sometimes, we ask our bodies to to do similar things all the time. So for example if your job was to stack shelves, you would likely be performing the same moves all the time. As we do this, a repetitive strain begins forming. As this occurs, muscles and joints start operating poorly, and over time, friction begins to happen as muscles and joints rub together. This increases inflammation, heat is generated and extra energy needed to move the same amount as before.
Over time, the problem escalates and the body produces adhesions in the joints and muscles, to try and limit movement so it can try to heal itself. But as the person still moves and tries to push through, more problems are created and pain increases.
So through poor posture, pain and poor movement is quite likely to develop into something more severe and painful. It is best to be treated in the early stages, so if you feel stiff or movement is lacking, come in and see us and we will be able to fix the issue much easier. Moreover, we can show you better posture techniques to help prevent issues from happening.
If you are already at a painful place, then most certainly get in touch with us. We can help with this and while it may take extra treatments, we can help you get the problem under control and head back towards a less painful life.