The Way Forward, Is To Ramp It Back! Week 7, Term 3, 2016

IT'S BONUS VIDEO TIME. CLICK ANYWHERE HERE TO GO TO THE NUTRITIOUS MOVEMENT VIDEO PAGE. IT'S ALL FREE, AND THE FIRST EXERCISE IS CLICK CLACK, WHICH WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE PAST TWO CLASSES.

This week I've been thinking a lot about my head. Not about the way overdue haircut, but where it is actually situated above my body as I'm going about my business. We all have an idea of where we think we are in space, and then we look at our actual, objective alignment markers and realise that we might have been a little off in our estimation. This is normal, we all do it, me included. Which is why we utilise the mirror as much as we do. You can check in and see where you are really at, make whatever adjustments your tissues are ready for and work on the motor skills needed to create a new 'normal'.

 Tight leg muscles (in this photo, my Dad is addressing his quadricep muscles in the front of his leg) are just one of the many reasons we have a tendency to pitch forward when we walk, very much impacting on the shoulder girdle and head alignment.

Tight leg muscles (in this photo, my Dad is addressing his quadricep muscles in the front of his leg) are just one of the many reasons we have a tendency to pitch forward when we walk, very much impacting on the shoulder girdle and head alignment.

Many of you have let me know that you are also starting to really sense how you are holding yourself out in the world. This is brilliant, a real step towards healing and strength building. Don't worry if you are not there yet, it just takes practice. It will sneak up on you. Keep checking in and celebrate every little victory. Take, for example, the idea of standing with your weight backed up over your heels. You know that when you let your pelvis move back over your toes, the front of the legs tighten, maybe the knees bend and you can feel your toes and the tops of the feet tighten up.You can feel it, so you can change it. The head ramp is another great place to explore this.

 By Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27274995   The Suboccipital muscles  at the base of the skull take on the task of lifting the chin whenever our head has come forward of the shoulders. This is exhausting over lengthy periods and can cause great strain, headaches and foggy brain.  

By Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27274995

The Suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull take on the task of lifting the chin whenever our head has come forward of the shoulders. This is exhausting over lengthy periods and can cause great strain, headaches and foggy brain.  

Let your head come forward of your shoulders and nod your head very gently, move it a little side to side. What muscles are you using, slow it all down and ask yourself, how does that really feel? Then gently ramp (or I really like the word glide) your head back so that your ears line up with your shoulders (or as close as you can comfortably get for now, tissue needs time to change). Feel the back of your neck and make sure it is still long, that your chin has not tilted up. Remember to leave it a little in towards the chest.

Now move your head gently up and down again, then try side to side. Make sure you've still got the ears in line with the shoulders. Then back to neutral and observe, what muscles can you feel working now? What has relaxed?

The old way (forward head) is going to feel pretty familiar and kind of like 'home'. But it is a home that can cause so much pain and dis-function. So head ramp and head hang as often as you can (go gently people, and if you keep your pelvis and bottom ribs lined up your core muscles will help out too.)

 For the anatomy geeks (I know you are out there!): In  Physiology of the Joints, Volume III , Kapandji determined that your head gains 10 pounds in weight for every inch it moves forward. That's a lot of extra work for the muscles in your upper back and neck.

For the anatomy geeks (I know you are out there!): In Physiology of the Joints, Volume III, Kapandji determined that your head gains 10 pounds in weight for every inch it moves forward. That's a lot of extra work for the muscles in your upper back and neck.

Any time you have your arms out in front of you or you are focusing on something (driving, typing, chopping, watching TV or a show) there is a good chance your head has come forward. Any time you have rolled the pelvis under (say seated or when you stand with your pelvis over your toes) there is a good chance your head has come forward. It happened to me while writing this blog post. So I'm now calf stretching and head ramping at the same time.

The more that you wake up an awareness of what your body is experiencing, this less you will find that you can tolerate the positions that might be stressful for your body. You'll sense instinctively that it's time to move.

 Pokemon Neck: Paweł Kuczyński’s image of a Pokemon player is very apt. Please avoid this posture when checking your phone!

Pokemon Neck: Paweł Kuczyński’s image of a Pokemon player is very apt. Please avoid this posture when checking your phone!

BONUS VIDEO TIME (PART 2!) if you read this far you get a bonus clip. Remember, it's meant to be funny. Don't strap a ball around your neck!!