I was asked this question by a personal trainer after a presentation I gave on injury prevention. And here was my answer…
The video below demonstrates the Overhead Reach Test, which is part 1 of a 5 step Functional Movement Screen I taught to a group of personal trainers. This set of movement tests is designed to identify predispositions to injury so they can be addressed before a problem occurs.
Click here to be able to choose between all five of the movement screen videos.
With the overhead reach, just keep it simple: Not checking every range of motion, but just having them go straight overhead and then at a forty five-degree angle. The first question is: how high can they go?–what’s their range of motion like? Do they get any kind of impingement or block along the way? Or maybe they have a pain in the middle and then it gets better at the top, which is called a “painful arc”. If they’re dealing with any kind of pain, discomfort, a blocking, pinching feeling where they can get above about 150 or 160 degrees, I would really use caution with a lot of overhead presses, or really, really strong forces even below shoulder level, because quite often, especially in your patient population or your client population that’s middle age to later in life, when they have that impingement or that pain coming up, there’s already some level of fraying or minor tears at the supraspinatus, the rotator cuff tendon, and so if they’re repeatedly even at light forces, pinching on that small tear or if they do a big force using that tendon that small tear can become a big tear and that’s a really long rehab process, so you want to definitely be careful with that.
This is one of the few things we talk about where I’d say if this is going on it should be referred out, simply because there are so many things that could be a part of that issue, not just necessarily the joint or the soft tissues or the scapular mechanics. There are just so many things that can contribute to that being a problem. I would definitely send out to a good therapist if it’s appropriate. You can see how their shoulder blades move. You can get them to do it backwards and slowly lower down. As they lower down see if their scapulas kind of come back into midline fairly symmetrically. What you might see sometimes if there’s an issue with the way that the scapula muscles are working is that they’ll have some scapular winging: They’ll kind of pop out or move differently, and if you see that there’s a dysfunction present.
There’s a lot I’m sure you know about shoulder stability exercises and scapular mechanics. If that’s all that’s going on they have good range of motion, decent strength, no pain, no need to send that one out and just get that scapula moving right.
Aside from those who come to my office with neck pain due to a trauma or car accident, I would estimate over 90% of my patients with neck pain develop that pain, at least in part, due to poor posture.
With more and more people spending an ever-greater amount of time sitting at desks, the number of people developing serious neck pain and dysfunction is also increasing. A great deal of this pain could be avoided if people were to set up their desk space in a way that promotes and supports good posture, and if they were also adamant about maintaining these proper postural positions.
I find myself explaining appropriate postural positions and ergonomic desk set-ups on a weekly basis, so I decided to write an article and make a video about this issue.
Based on the video above, whether or not you have a desktop or a laptop, it is likely you will need an adjustable keyboard tray. Here is a link to one of my favorites. Note, you may be able to save money if the 17 inch version is big enough for you. You can also opt for the “standard tray” rather than this “adjustable tray” which essentially just gives you more adjustments for the mouse pad area (though if you have wrist or elbow issues, I would stick with the adjustable tray).
If you are using a laptop, here is a link to a wireless keyboard you can connect to it. If this one doesn’t suit your needs, just look around on Amazon for one that does. Here are general directions for connecting the keyboard to the laptop wirelessly.
If your chair is not adjustable in the ways described in the video, here is a link to the fully adjustable chair in the video. With all that said, if you read this post on the dangers of sitting still and fully supported all day long, you may want to try this swiss ball chair. You can still attain very good posture with this type of chair… you just have to work at it throughout the day, which is likely much better for your health. All the angles of the body and placement of the computer/keyboard demonstrated in the video still apply.
If you have any questions about posture or neck pain that are not addressed in this article or video, please feel free to contact me at any time.
I occasionally get the above question, and the short answer is, “Yes, of course.” What people call a “crick in the neck” can come from a few different things, but in my experience, the majority of these painful scenarios occurs when the tissue surrounding a neck joint (called the joint capsule) gets pinched inside the joint. This can happen during sudden head movements, while lifting objects, and also when you sleep with your neck in an awkward position. The joint capsules have a lot of nerve endings and are very sensitive. When this occurs, the reaction of the muscles in the neck is to tighten up and protect the area, which is why a “crick in the neck” almost always has muscle spasms associated with it. These spasms add to the painful, stiff, debilitating condition that, for some, will go away within a few days but for many others will leave some level of tightness and pain for months. This can ultimately turn into a chronically stiff and often painful neck. Read more