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Turtle Neck Syndrome: How to Get Rid of Neck Pain



Turtle neck syndrome is familiar to many. Pain in the shoulders and neck, headache, stooped back are his faithful companions. But it is possible to transform from a turtle into a human, says Japanese professor Hiroshi Hiraizumi. However, exercise is essential. Professor's article for Nihon Keizai was translated Next - from the first person.

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The streets came to life. Despite this, the situation is different from what it was before the new coronavirus pandemic. Masks and other means of protection against infection have become part of our everyday life. Meanwhile, people with a pronounced "turtle neck" syndrome have become more common, that is, it is tilted forward, like a turtle, the body moves heavily, as if dragging behind its head.

This syndrome manifests itself not only in adults, but even in children. The crowd at the traffic light waiting for the green light looks like a regiment of turtle.

I myself saw my reflection in the shop window and was stunned - a turtle ... The neck is tilted forward, and the expression on my face seems slightly painful.

It is extremely sad that after a few months of remote work, I turned from a man to a turtle. It looks like the pain in the upper body is increasing.

In this regard, I decided to consult Hiroshi Hiraizumi, a visiting professor at Shwa University, about the rules for the prevention of turtle neck syndrome. He teaches at the Orthopedic Department of the Faculty of Medicine.

“Turtle Neck Syndrome - the title is straight to the point. This abnormal neck position is now seen in many people. Due to the tortoise posture, in which the back is stooped and the neck and chin are stretched forward, many patients complain of poor health, ”says the professor.

- What are the consequences of the "turtle" posture?

- Shoulder and neck pain, headache, and asthenopia. “The neck is so heavy that I can’t raise my head”, “From the neck the pain goes to the shoulders and forearms”, “I want to chop off the neck,” such complaints can be heard from patients. The other day a patient with a pronounced turtle neck syndrome was admitted to our clinic. We took an X-ray and it became clear that the jaw was also protruding. He said that his neck hurts a lot, so he wants to take the painkiller and lie down. I replied that medicine and rest alone would not fix the situation. By the way, I write articles every night, and my neck muscles quickly get tired of it. She starts to hurt, so I understand very well what it is.

- Causes of the "turtle neck" syndrome - remote work and prolonged use of a smartphone? Has this syndrome started to manifest itself due to the proliferation of remote work?

- Indeed, adults work remotely, while children study online or spend a long time using their smartphones. This affects the appearance of the syndrome. If you look at the screen for a long time, your back will bend and your neck will bend forward. The lifting scapula, as well as the trapezius muscles, begin to numb. The pain comes from fatigue.

The fact is that the weight of an adult's head is more than ten percent of the body weight. If the body weighs 50 kilograms, then the head is more than five. It's like carrying a bag of rice. This weight is held by the muscles that run from the neck to the back. If the head is directly above the body, good balance is maintained, but if you sit for a long time at a computer or smartphone in a tortoise pose, rounding your back and stretching your neck forward, the center of gravity shifts due to the tilt of the head forward. The muscles in the neck and back are stretched.

As a result, they overexert themselves and get tired. Discomfort occurs in the upper body - pain in the neck and shoulders.

If you start turtle neck syndrome, the head gradually falls forward, and the person cannot raise it. Vestibular neuronitis may develop. In our clinic, we perform several relevant operations every year.

Turtle neck should not be underestimated and excused for poor posture or fatigue. It is necessary to follow the rules that will help overcome the wrong position of the neck.

Rules against "turtle neck":

  1. The head and shoulders should not protrude forward. The head should be strictly above the body, the shoulders should be held behind the body.
  2. It is necessary to relax the neck for 40 seconds to get rid of the pain in it.
  3. Raise your head and neck with a 40-second neck exercise to return to human from tortoise.
  4. Remove the carapace from your back by relaxing your shoulder blades for 30 seconds.
  5. Straighten your twisted body by spreading your arms to the sides for 20 seconds. Restore breathing and posture.

Let's consider in more detail.

Rule 1: The head and shoulders must not protrude forward. The head should be strictly above the body, the shoulders should be held behind the body

Let's clarify the ideal position.

The head and shoulders must not be in front of the body. To support a heavy head in balance, hold it above the body and turn your shoulders back. If the shoulders are in front, the back is rounded and the head is pushed forward. It is necessary to constantly monitor that the shoulders are pushed back and the head is located above the body.

Rule 2: You need to relax your neck for 40 seconds to get rid of pain in it

To get rid of the turtle neck, it is important to keep it upright. Despite this, many may argue that the neck is heavy and the head does not rise. I often write articles, and because of this, I have a heavy feeling that an iron stick is inserted from my neck to my shoulders. Even if I correct my posture, at some point the posture becomes "turtle" again. First you need to do something with the neck.

Relax your neck first. In this case, you should not rotate or sharply move the neck without preparation if there is pain in it. You can compress the cervical nerves and damage it. In particular, in middle and old age, intervertebral cartilage is erased, which acts as a buffer between bones, therefore, the load on the joints increases, and even a small impact can cause arthrosis. Stretch your neck slowly while breathing deeply.

• Do the preparatory exercises: slowly tilt your head back and forth and left and right;

• Reach out with your right hand to your left ear, while exhaling, slowly tilt your head to the right with your hand and fix in this position for ten seconds. Feel the stretch from neck to shoulder.

• Do a similar exercise in reverse - tilt your head to the left with your left hand for ten seconds.

• Clasp your hands together at the back of your head and bend forward with your back muscles stretched. As you exhale, tilt your head down due to the weight of your arms. Touch your chin to your chest and fix this position for ten seconds. Feel the stretch from your neck to your back.

• As you inhale, lift your head and as you exhale, tilt it back for ten seconds.

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One set of exercises lasts 40 seconds. I tried to make them. I exhale and gently bow my head. At first it was difficult to move the neck, it stretched badly. However, I continued the exercises along with breathing, and the impression was that the rust from the iron stick was crumbling. The neck stretched smoothly, as if it were turning into rubber.

Not only the neck was stretched, but also the shoulders and back. A pleasant feeling arose. I stopped feeling the heaviness of my head, and my neck and shoulders became light. If you do these exercises every day, the stiff neck will relax.

Rule 3: Raise the head and neck with a 40-second neck muscle charge to return to the human state from the tortoise state

In addition to relaxing your neck, you should also do a 40-second exercise for your muscles. Thanks to this, the neck will hold its head well, which will help eliminate the "turtle syndrome".

When they say "muscle workout", you imagine something not quite simple.

No, no, don't exaggerate. You just need to press lightly. However, the trick of this exercise is to correctly position the neck and head that were relaxed during the previous exercise, and maintain this position during exercise.

Step 1:

Fold your hands in the lock at the back of your head. Take your head back so that it rests on your hands, and fix the position for ten seconds. Don't forget to breathe.

This exercise trains the belt muscle of the head as well as the trapezius muscle.

Step 2:

Fold your hands into the lock on your forehead. We rest our heads in our hands for ten seconds. This strengthens the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

Step 3:

We put the right palm on the right cheek and rest our head on the hand for ten seconds. We do a similar exercise on the left side. This causes the sternocleidomastoid muscle to contract on each side. Thanks to these exercises, the neck muscles contract from all sides, so that blood circulation in them improves, they warm up, and it becomes easier to relax them.

“I often do this exercise in between sessions as it rejuvenates and refreshes the neck,” Hiraizumi said.

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It will be difficult to balance the effort between the head and arms at first.

After that, a pleasant warmth appears in the neck. The main thing is to make sure not to stop breathing during each exercise, as the desire to hold your breath involuntarily arises.

“First, we relax the neck, and then we train. Due to this, it will become much easier for her, ”said Hiraizumi.

If turtle neck syndrome occurs, it will be difficult to return the head to a level position. However, 40 seconds of relaxation and 40 seconds of exercise relieve neck pain and help raise your head. Daily 80 seconds of recharging is an essential habit for getting out of the tortoise state.

The material is published for educational purposes and is not a recommendation. ForumDaily Woman is not responsible for any diagnosis made by the reader based on the materials of the site, as well as for the consequences of self-medication, and may not share the point of view of the author or expert.

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