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Author - Anastasia Belikov, PT, Cert. MDT
Graduated with her DPT in 2017

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Neck Pain Got You Down


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Another common issue that dancers come to physical therapy for is neck pain. Usually, the neck pain isn’t due to the dancing, unless you cranked your neck wrong during a dip or a trick, but due to what you do outside of dance.

Do you ever find yourself in this position? It’s quite common. I tend to see it a lot in swimmers, wrestlers, the eldery, or in those who sit at a computer or sit slouched - and that’s a short list. This forward head and rounded shoulder position places very high stress on your neck and all the surrounding structures. It can cause neck pain, headaches, facial and TMJ pain, as well as shoulder pain and radiating pain/tingling into your arms.

To correct this, ensure that the tasks you’re working on are close enough so that you do not end up pushing your head forward. You want to maintain a neutral posture – ears over shoulders. Roll a towel and place it vertically between your shoulder blades when sitting for better support. One more critical position that people have trouble with is their sleeping posture. Those with neck issues tend to look for that “magic” pillow, and the correct position will vary from person to person based on their anatomy and range of motion.

We tend to think that a nice fluffy pillow is a good thing to lay on, but a lot of times it pushes our head forward again. A pillow that keeps your ears over your shoulders is great. For the side sleepers, this also applies, but try rolling a small towel under your neck, between your shoulder and the pillow to achieve better support of the neck.

For the stomach sleepers (sleeping on your stomach is okay!), you might feel better without a pillow, or a flat pillow under your ear to reduce how far your head is turning. Try these out and see what works for you!

Neck Pain Got You Down
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