Neck & Back Pain
When suffering from neck and back pain a discussion has to be made regarding mouth breathing. A simple look at the primary functions of the mouth is that it allows us to speak and gives us our ability to eat. Unfortunately, the consequences of mouth breathing can create much unwanted side affects. One of the primary consequences of mouth breathing is a forward head posture. Our brain detects when we mouth breath and positions our head so that we can be more efficient to receive air into our lungs. I have coined a term of “standup CPR” to describe the positions of our body as a result of mouth breathing.
Many of you have completed courses in CPR(Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). When a person stops breathing and you want to administer CPR, one of the movements that is performed is a “Head Tilt” or “Chin Lift”. This is performed by placing one hand on the victim’s forehead, and two fingers on the bony part of the jaw. The head is gently tilted backwards as noted above. This will open the airway and lift the tongue off the back of the throat so that there is clear passage to the lungs. Once this maneuver is completed CPR is begun. As I stated “Standup CPR” is a term I have coined because it is very similar in the positioning of the head when we start CPR, however, we are standing up. This occurs when we transition from nasal breathing to mouth breathing. The head is not merely leaning forward but is subluxed forward so that the tongue can be re-positioned to allow the necessary air flow to ventilate our lungs.
Our brain is the culprit in creating this movement. The human brain is a survivalist and will do all that it can to keep us alive… even at the consequence of creating other problems. The placement of our head in this forward position creates havoc on our skeletal frame. Ideally speaking, the muscles holding the position of the head are net neutral. However, because of the result of holding this forward head posture the muscle fatigue. Our heads weight about 10 to 12 pounds. When the the head is subluxed forward it creates the equivalency of 12 pounds of pressure on our back and neck. Just imagine if one were to carry a 10 pound back pack on the front of our skeletal frame throughout the day. Certainly one could appreciate the muscular pain resulting from holding the head in this position all day long which translates into neck and back pain.