Walk Correctly to Solve Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Our skeletal structure works just like the structure of a house. I have assisted in house construction and one of the most important tasks to do is making sure the foundation is square and level. Otherwise, it will be an uphill battle to construct the rest of the house. The walls won’t be straight, windows won’t be level, and doors won’t close. The same thing is as important with the foundation of your own body and a lot of it starts with the way you flex your feet when you walk.
I have seen many people with chronic neck pain, scoliosis, and low back pain issues due to how leg and foot muscles are flexed while walking. Injuries in your feet that took place 20 years ago can create compounded symptoms in your neck. If someone has broken a toe in their left foot, often one will get chronic pain on the right side of their neck. This happens because the person over time does not put their weight on the left leg, instead, they will lean and stand over their right leg. When you do this, your hips shift, and then your neck shifts the other way to create balance. This lifts the right shoulder and your head will lean over to the right. This may cause an impingement that can create chronic neck pain because of your constant head tilt.
To counter and correct this issue is to focus on the foot injury and make sure you are using both of your feet muscles evenly. When there is an old injury, scar tissue surrounds the area. You may subconsciously stiffen this area so that it protects against the old injury. What you want to do is slow your walking gait down and stretch and flex this scar tissue area. To correct the structural imbalance, one must flex muscles into the normal and naturally correct position. In the previous example, if the person worked on their foot and flexed through the stiffness this would re-tilt the neck back to the original position. The head tilt is due to the stiff foot and if one strengthens their foot, the neck will go back to the natural position.