After 24 years of practice I am still amazed at our body’s ability to focus on symptoms while ignoring the original cause of the problem. When life events overwhelm us, we tend to bury the problem and go on around it. Under stress, your body can react with inflammation, compensating with myriad symptoms. The neck is a common place to hold tension and painful symptoms. Why is it often so difficult to achieve long lasting relief?
Does your head feel heavy? Your head is like a bowling ball on a stick. Weighing from 12-14 pounds, the head (occipital bone) is supported by the top vertebra (atlas). Normally, it balances quite well on its’ center of gravity. Due to injury or chronic stress, the occiput/atlas relationship can be misaligned, causing our muscles and connective tissue to work extra hard just to keep your head on straight. As you know, that’s not easy to do sometimes. When moving your head and neck causes pain, you tend to decrease mobility and increase rigidity.
Can you easily turn your head to see around you? Your neck and head are designed to be one of the most flexible joints in the body. You need to see possible danger in all directions, enabling you to respond and keep yourself safe. When injury or chronic stress limit your ability to turn your head in all directions, the body responds with tension, a stress reaction. Loss of range of motion can lead to anxiety and a perpetual fight or flight state. In a constant state of alarm, the muscles and fascia stay tight and ready. This constant state of readiness creates fatigue which in turn can make you feel even less safe.
Are you holding imprinted trauma in your neck? When forces from injury, disease, postural distortions and overwhelming life events are not processed and dissipated fully by the nervous system, they imprint in your body structures, fluids and fields. Underlying patterns for health are disturbed. Your neck is built for flexibility but that leaves it somewhat vulnerable to imprinted trauma patterns such as compression. Compression decreases movement. This may cause your systems to work less efficiently. You may be using vital energy to sequester residual trauma patterns. When your neck does not seem to get better, there’s a good chance that there are imprinted trauma patterns trapped in the body. In these cases people often remark, “Ever since that event happened, I’ve never been the same”.
Are you able to go with the flow? In a natural flow of fluid there is a predictable pattern called the helical flow or spiral movement. It is easy to see the natural spiral flow of fluid when looking at a meandering river or water going down a drain. Your brain produces a nutrient laden fluid (CSF) that flows from the brain, through the neck and down the spine. As this cerebrospinal fluid flows out of the head into the neck, it MUST retain the spiral motion to deliver nutrients and absorb waste .Your neck is like the middle of an hour glass. Compression or imprinted trauma patterns in your neck may distort or limit the natural fluid spiral. When fluid fails to spiral it cannot efficiently carry vital nutrients and carry away toxic debris. Your nervous system may respond to this loss of fluid spiral by going further into a stressed state.
Do you have related symptoms? There are 3 cranial nerves that exit your cranium where your head and neck meet. Your brain communicates with the tongue, swallowing muscles, neck muscles, the heart and other organs through these nerve pathways that travel through your neck. Neck compression and rigidity may interfere with the nerves ability to send and receive the proper messages to these vital areas of the body. You may have symptoms in the body that are caused by compression in your neck!
So when you seek treatment for a symptom, be mindful of these underlying principles – they may help eliminate a “pain in the neck”, other debilitating symptoms, and support you in living a healthier life.