From sleeping in the wrong position to sustaining a hard jolt to the cervical spine, neck pain is one of those conditions that can have many causes. One of the more subtle contributing factors to neck pain is poor posture, which often takes its toll on your neck over time. Understanding how posture can affect neck pain, however, can help with diagnosis and treatment while leading to much-appreciated relief.
Forward Head and Shoulder Motions
Often associated with looking down at various mobile devices, forward head and shoulder motions place added stress on the muscles, bones, tendons and joints supporting the neck. This posture often includes imbalanced shoulders and a slightly stooped upper back. It’s this misalignment that unevenly distributes the weight of the head and increases the risk of:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Muscle strain or stiffness
- Shoulder and upper back pain
Long Term Effects on Facet Joints
Prolonged poor posture affecting the neck can place added pressure on the small facet joints within the neck. These joints, located between vertebrae, are what allow you to bend and move your neck. Too much pressure on facet joints from poor posture may result in inflammation that can affect supporting structures and further worsen neck pain. Facet joints can also wear down over time from extra strain.
Increased Risk of Degenerative Conditions
The longer poor posture continues, the greater the risk of developing degenerative conditions that can affect not only your neck, but your shoulders and parts of your spine through your lower back. Other supporting structures in the neck can also be affected by increased wear (degeneration). Possible degenerative conditions affecting the neck resulting from poor posture may include:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- Cervical osteoarthritis
- Cervical disc herniation
It will take some time, practice, and conscious effort to adjust postures affecting the neck. If posture affects neck pain to the extent where movements result in pain, a board-certified spine physician can perform a further evaluation to identify possible issues with joints and muscles. Conservative treatments often include a combination of rest, short-term pain medications, massage therapy, and physical therapy. Surgery is a last resort, but a possibility if discs are severely damaged.
If after trying conservative measures back pain persists, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and schedule a consultation with an experienced Los Angeles spine surgeon. We’ll perform a number of advanced diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your pain and identify all possible reatment options. Call (310) 828-7757 today.