Are You Weak Neck Muscles Making Your Hamstrings Tight?
You may have noticed that some of your friends are not able to perform the most basic activities. They cannot even sit down comfortably at a table without having their head drooping or their neck being twisted. Some of them do not seem to notice any pain while others complain of it all the time.
Why does everyone else get along with no problems? Is there something wrong with them?
It’s because they don’t have any weak points! Weakness is usually found in one area only, but not always. A person’s body is made up of many different parts which work together to make the whole person. These parts include bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues. Each part works in harmony with the rest so that each part performs its job effectively.
The problem arises when these various parts become out of sync due to injury or age. This is why some of your friends are experiencing problems. They have come to realize that they have weak points in their body and not just in their neck muscles.
The Neck Muscles
Your neck has seven different muscles which can become either weak or tight. All of these muscles have different jobs to do. Some allow you to look up, and others allow you to look down. Some allow you to move your head from one side to the other, while others keep your head straight.
The stronger your neck muscles are, the better they work together so that each one does its job effectively. This stops the strain being put on other muscles and ligaments in your body. The weaker your neck muscles are, the more likely it is that strain will be put on other parts of your body which were not meant to do the job of your weak neck muscles.
The strain on other parts of your body is felt as pain and discomfort in various places such as your shoulder or back. This is why these people complain of various aches and pains that come and go. These pains are not coming from where they think they are coming from. The pains are coming from the fact that their other muscle groups are having to work harder to take up the slack of the weak neck muscles.
The shoulder and back are not the only places that pain and discomfort can be felt however. The legs and feet can also suffer, especially the legs as this is where the body’s weight rests.
Stand up and have a look at your legs. Bend your knees slightly and rock gently back and forth on your feet. Most of the movement should be at your hips. Your knees should only bend slightly. If you find that your knees are bending a lot more than your hips are rocking, then it is a sign that your hip muscles are much stronger than your quadriceps.
The reason for this is that your quadriceps are having to work very hard in order to keep your knees bent due to the fact that your hip muscles are not doing their job properly which is to hold your body upright. Most likely you will find that one leg takes most of your weight, and the other leg barely moves. This is because the stronger leg has no problem taking the weight of your body, but the other leg has weak thigh muscles which don’t do their share of the work.
When you stand on your legs, all of your body’s weight rests on your feet. Weak thigh muscles in the legs bring discomfort and pain to the feet. The feet can suffer from similar pains to that felt in the shoulder and back.
So what can be done about these weak muscles?
The first thing to do is to visit a medical doctor to make sure that there are no underlying diseases, such as a thyroid problem, causing these muscle weaknesses. Once this has been eliminated, then it’s just a matter of exercising the weaker muscles until they become stronger and can work in harmony with the rest of your body.
The neck muscles can be strengthened by holding small dumbbells in your hands and doing a simple exercise where you hold your head up with your chin out for about thirty seconds and then chin in for about thirty seconds. You should do this ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening. It’s important to do these exercises daily.
The leg muscles can be strengthened by standing on something high enough to lift your legs a few inches off the ground. You then bend the knees of the leg that’s on the higher surface first, keeping the heel down. You then straighten the knee while at the same time trying to lift the heel. When you can’t lift it any more, you then bend the knee again and straighten it as well. You do this in a smooth motion about 50 times.
Do this ten times with each leg.
Sources & references used in this article:
Evaluation of muscular imbalance by V Janda, C Frank, C Liebenson – Rehabilitation of the spine: a …, 1996 – books.google.com
Abnormalities in α-, β-and γ-sarcoglycan in patients with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy by CA Sewry, J Taylor, LVB Anderson… – Neuromuscular …, 1996 – nmd-journal.com
Muscular balance, core stability, and injury prevention for middle-and long-distance runners by M Fredericson, T Moore – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation …, 2005 – pmr.theclinics.com
Practical management: hamstring muscle injuries by JA Drezner – Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 2003 – journals.lww.com