If you think your head is ‘connected to the neck bone’, you’ll move your head around as if the neck is a separate limb and end up with the all-too-common head-forward posture (see photo below left). The next time you’re looking for your car keys, see what you’re doing with your neck – are you searching with your neck sweeping side to side?
So how should you use your neck? Firstly, remember the neck is actually the top part of your spine and works more efficiently if it’s not jutting forward.
Another benefit of just letting your head balance and move from the top of the spine is that it allows its weight (almost 5 kilos) to be supported by the chair or floor under your feet. If your neck is forward, the weight of your head will pull your spine forward and down and ultimately cause loss of height and the dreaded ‘dowagers hump’.
But don’t think you have to try and stand and sit up straight as you’ll naturally use less effort if you’re poised with your head sitting in the right position. Imagine a thread attached to the top of your head is gently pulling you up (but don’t tighten your neck or back).
Let the surface beneath you support the head and appreciate the push coming back from the ground and you’ll stand, sit and move with less effort and reduce those all too familiar muscle aches and pains.
Roy Palmer is our Alexander Technique teacher at the practice - to read more about him, please click here.