Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Aug 15, 2022

Neck and shoulder pain can be caused from Forward Head Posture (FHP) and can be recognized by the position of the EAR BEING FORWARD OF THE SHOULDER, RATHER THAN SITTING DIRECTLY OVER IT.

Poor neck posture leads to a Forward Head Position which is one of the most common causes of neck, head and shoulder tension and pain.

This can be a result of long term habits of “slouching” at the computer, driving, sitting poorly on the couch, or poor sleeping posture. These habits can get worse if strains and sprains of the neck have occurred in the past which have weakened the neck muscles.

Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states:

“Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis (curve), which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation.”

Long term forward head posture leads to “long term muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves.” (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, March 2000)

“Posture and normal physiology and function are interrelated. Abnormal posture is evident in patients with chronic pain-related conditions including backache, headache, and stress-related illnesses.” American Journal of Pain Management 1994, 4:36-39

At Body & Soul Wellness Center we teach you how to correct muscle imbalances that contribute to forward head posture and other postural deviations. This method is NOT a “quick fix” but a process that happens over time to give you LASTING pain relief. The exercises/stretches are gentle, and non-invasive. 

Posture Self Test


STEP 1 – March in place for a few seconds then stop. Look down at your feet. Which way are they pointing? Out to the sides, or straight ahead?

STEP TWO– look at your ears, is one higher than the other? This is a head tilt and a sign of possible neck misalignment.

STEP THREE – Look at the shoulders; they should be level, if they are not this is a sign of a mid back misalignment

STEP FOUR – Place your hands on top of your hips, if one hip is higher than the other this could causes misalignment of your spine, low back or hip.

Looking from the side (you will need someone else to check this for you)

Your ear should be directly over the middle of your shoulder – If your ear is forward of this you have forward head posture. For every inch your head posture is forward, add 10 – 12 pounds to your entire spine. HOW CAN I IMPROVE/CORRECT MY POSTURE?

There are treatment principles specifically designed to help improve or correct posture. These may include MYOFASCIAL RELEASE Therapy as well as a specific muscle retraining program combined. The first step is to have your posture assessed by a trained health care professional.

Myofascial Release (John Barnes Approach) Therapists at Body & Soul Wellness Center specialize in this area of expertise.

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