"It is the victims that cry out, not the criminals."- Physiotherapist and author Diane Lee
If you have neck pain, the first thing you'll likely do is find out if there's something wrong within your neck itself. Maybe you've strained or injured it in some way. Or possibly your pain is a symptom of osteoarthritis or a degenerative disc disease, as unfortunately, these diseases are all too common causes of neck pain.
However, if the medical profession can't find anything wrong with your neck per se, it may be that you need to look further afield. Quite far afield, in fact - all the way to your feet!
How so? The quote at the start of this article illustrates how pain often manifests in a part of the body far from the source of the actual problem. In the case of your neck and feet, the pain in your neck may actually be a symptom of a problem with your feet. This is because neck pain can be caused by poor posture and your feet play a critical role in shaping your posture. Let's take a closer look.
The Impact of Your Feet on Posture
Problems with your feet can affect the way you stand and walk and alter the alignment of the muscles and joints throughout your body. Think about it, if you walk around even for a single week favouring one foot, you'll likely end up with muscular complaints further up your body. More likely though you've been walking around for years with a potential problem in both feet!
One foot problem we commonly see, which can affect your posture, is over-pronation (where a weakness in the arches means your feet roll too far inwards when you walk, run and jump). When your feet roll like this, it places extra stress on the joints, ligaments and muscles above, making it harder to maintain a strong, upright posture. This problem, stemming from your feet, can be felt up through your knees, thighs, pelvis and hips and into your back and even neck.
So What does Good Posture Look Like?
You can easily check whether you have good posture in a mirror at home. When it comes to your neck, good posture equals having your ears positioned directly above your shoulders, your chest open and your shoulders held back. This posture helps to balance the weight of your head on top of your cervical spine (neck), therefore minimising pressure on your neck itself. If you look at yourself in a mirror, you should see your back curve in an 's' pattern. Check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic for improving your posture.
Beyond Your Neck - Other Negative Impacts of Bad Posture
Poor posture most commonly manifests as pain in your back and/or neck; however researchers now understand that poor posture can contribute to a range of other health problems including:
- Difficulty balancing
- Breathing difficulties
- Constipation; and
Posture may even affect your mood, sleep and energy levels.
On top of all the potential health impacts, maintaining good posture makes a lot of sense purely from a social point of view as an upright, strong posture conveys confidence and approachability; it could even help you avoid becoming a victim of crime!
If you're experiencing neck or back pain and can't locate the cause, contact Toorak Village Podiatry today; we may be able to assist.