Yesterday I performed a fitness assessment on a 38-year-old female Air Traffic Controller who appeared healthy, but complained of chronic neck pain when doing any form of strength training. Perhaps this was one reason she had an aversion to working out with weights. Her primary mode of fitness was only Yoga which didn’t resolve her neck pain or the 35% body fat she was carrying.
Chronic neck pain is a condition commonly seen in office workers. Primarily women. Researchers have repeatedly shown through medical imaging that the vertebrae between C3 and C7 in women are significantly smaller than male vertebrae. Female necks are also significantly weaker by 32% in flexion and extension compared to men. These two finding explain the cause and effect of female neck related disorders such as chronic neck pain and whiplash.
So whats the solution you wonder? In analyzing the spine biometrics from Thoracic to cervical vertebrae there was an obvious 20 degree forward shift of the head from the base of C7. In addition both shoulders were rounded forward by 30 degrees which is very suggestive of Upper Cross Syndrome and Trapezius Myalgia.
An exercise prescription involving shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation and chin tucks will be the starting point for correcting this malalignment.
Danish, German and American studies have all shown great improvement in function and reduction of neck pain in females by doing 5 specific exercises.
After explaining to her the suggested Corrective Exercise prescription, she committed to 1 month of Personal training and Corrective Exercise prescription. We will begin corrective exercise in the next few days and I will keep you posted on her results after the first few sessions. My prediction is full pain management and a corrected cervical spine by the end of the month.
Rivak Hoffman is a nationally certified fitness professional, medical exercise specialist, fitness writer and researcher committed to uncovering the myths in the fitness industry. He is the founder of Rxfitnesspro.com of Southern California and EverybitfitAZ in Mesa AZ.