The anatomy of the neck and shoulders is very interesting. These critical parts of the upper body are very prone to developing pain because the position of all the bones in the neck and shoulders are completely dependent on the balance and alignment of the muscles and fascia that lash them together and allow for movement between them.
The neck is composed of a series of seven bones that are stacked on top of one another. These bones form the top segment of the spine and contain nooks and crannies where nerves pass through from the spinal cord to enervate the upper body, arms and hands. The shoulder girdle is composed of four bones including two collarbones and two shoulder blades.
If you refer to a muscle chart showing the orientation of all the muscles in the upper back, shoulders and neck, you will see that they travel in every possible direction. This allows for the wide variety of movements that are possible in the neck and shoulders. If the balance of the muscles and fascia is thrown off due to poor posture, bad habits, poor ergonomics, old trauma or even by emotions, then the bones are thrown out of alignment, the muscles go into spasm, range of motion becomes limited, or chronic contraction and pain is the result.
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