There are 3 primary sections of the back which contain 24 total vertebrae; there are 7 cervical vertebrae in the neck. The top two vertebrae are called the “atlas” and the “axis”; it is here that head rotation occurs. When all of the vertebrae are positioned correctly, there should be a slight curve in the neck which helps distribute stress. In cases where a person slouched or has forward head posture, the amount of strain at the neck increases significantly in addition nerves or blood vessels can become compressed creating painful symptoms.
Forward head or slouching posture: This can result in neck, back and/or shoulder pain.
The “Brachial Plexus” is a major branch of nerves that exits the neck and travels down the shoulder and arm to the hand. These nerves can become irritated at any level causing pain/numbness/tingling, etc. Even though these originate at the neck, symptoms can sometimes appear in the arm and hand. The nerves of the brachial plexus can become compressed by slouching and forward head postures.
Muscle strength and flexibility plays a key role in not only how we feel, but in our posture. Because the head is relatively heavy (12 pounds), the muscles need to be strong enough to support the head throughout our daily activities. If not, the muscles then become tired and tight, we begin to slouch and this can lead to headaches, neck and back ache and even shoulder/arm/hand pain and building disks. Simple stretches and strengthening exercises can greatly help reduce neck pain.