While research shows significant gains can be made from strengthening neck muscles and improving awareness of neck position, clinical experience tells us that the thoracic spine posture and movement can be an often overlooked area of concern. Stiff mid backs (think office worker) place extra strain on the neck. Weak posture does not allow the neck and head to sit nicely on the spine – like a ball on a stick! Another favourite of mine pictured here are the upper trapezius muscles. Yes they feel tight and are tender, but are they tight or taut? You can see the outer third of the collar bone is the insertion of the muscle fibres. Rounded shoulders and slumped spines pull the trapezius fibres downwards creating a lengthened, taut structure that is certainly hypersensitive. Because we want our eyes to see the world, we lift the head up and the cervical spine (neck) then becomes compressed and very cranky! The answer lays in positioning the shoulders back but, firstly straighten the thoracic spine! Lift from the pelvis up and if you want to stretch anything, stretch your pectoral muscles (chest) – in a doorway is a good one. Stretches should be firm but not painful and breath throughout. Hold for 30-40 seconds and repeat 3-5 times a day. You can decrease the pain in your neck without touching it! For further advice and individual analysis, see our Physiotherapists and really address all the factors underlying your chronic neck pain.