Neck Stiffness, Limited Ranges of Motion and Poor Performance

Everyone has had a stiff neck at some point in their life.  Whether it was sleeping on a fold-out couch or bad hotel bed on a business trip.  Occasionally, we all have to experience the less than ideal scenario.  There are other situations where a work station or home office layout is not laid out in such a way that it encourages a more relaxed, yet supported posture.

What other types of situations may cause stiff neck?

neck stiffness

A giraffe can't blame their long neck on their neck stiffness, they have the same number of vertebrae in their neck as you and I do.

Besides the reasons noted above, there are more insidious causes of muscle tension, muscle spasms or more focal trigger points as they’re called.  You can learn more about those specific things by linking to the articles we’ve written about those topics.

However, it is important to discuss one of the primary ways that your neck can feel stiff, tight, tense and otherwise limit your ability to turn it in the normal directions.  The most common issue I find is spinal tension caused by a nervous system that is very ‘wound up’ for lack of a better term.

photo credit

You see, your body is adapting as best it can to the various forms of stress that you encounter in your life.  These can come from a variety of sources; dietary, physical accidents or sports injuries, and emotional or mental realms.  When these stressors are not ‘digested’ appropriately by your body because it simply doesn’t have the means to deal with them, the ensuing result will be tension that your muscles and tissues ‘store’ until it’s safe to experience.

As an athlete, even on a more casual basis, you will see how this tension will inhibit performance.  If you are an elite athlete, times will decrease, reaction speed will suffer and your mental game will be challenged.  The casual or weekend warrior type of athlete will find that they are much more prone to injury.

The tension that your body is holding will inhibit how well you are able to respond to the world around you not only in your chosen sport but also in your daily life.

Of course, since you’re probably looking for ways of improving your golf swing or having more focus on the putting green, these things are of critical importance.  Do you think that you (or your child athlete) would have an advantage if you could be more receptive and responsive to the subtle cues from your body?  Of course you would!

This tension will also affect your ranges of motion.  So, not only will your neck feel stiff, but it will limit how well you can turn your head, too.  This is a bad thing no matter what, but it is especially limiting if you play sports where a fully flexible and responsive body is key.


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