Neck Pain, headaches & the female form

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Neck Pain, headaches & the female form

Do females have more neck pain than males?

Every single one of us is an athlete, this is because we came from an environment of hunter/gatherers and we fought to survive, eat, sleep and move. Our skeletal structure has not changed for thousands of years but what has is the new shiny electronic convenient world. Our muscular skeletal system has adapted to the way we move and has steered away development.


“High-level athletes and weekend warriors alike are affected by neck pain. In most instances, athletic neck pain is the result of minor injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle strains, or soft tissue contusions…Regardless of the origin of symptoms, athletes with neck pain may have deficits in muscle recruitment, strength and endurance, repositioning acuity, postural stability,or oculomotor control. Athletes with neck pain may also have mobility deficits in the cervical and/or upper thoracic regions.”


No matter how much we develop, whether progression or regression there are differences in the male and female athletic ability. Females are more prone to injury at joints and have narrower tunnels in the central nervous system than men. A huge variable is the difference in the neck musculature. Females have less extensor mass so are more prone to neck problems. That is to say there is 30-40% less muscle mass in their cervical area, yet a female head weighs proportionally about the same as a male one.















Our postural patterns follow the modern sedentary lifestyle of driving, sitting and slouching. What happens at one joint will have a knock on effect throughout the rest of the body.

So how can a female’s head percentage be heavier than a male’s?

The hair can weigh a lot, putting chronic stress on neck extensors

A female will also have more headaches. Faulty motor engrams that contain a forward head posture will make the brain tell the body to go to its strongest point; this will never be the weakest. Thus the forward head posture will continue to get stronger. Every inch that the head moves forward the load will double. So a ten-pound head that is forward three inches become s a 30-pound head. This then puts stress on the neck extensors, which is set more by watching TV, driving and sitting at computers and playing on iPhones. The results are poor blood flow through the rest of the human body. The blood flow stats are actually reduced by 75% through the working muscles. So imagine the effort required to a forward headed athlete to that of a neutral cervical neck athlete when moving.

When this lack of blood flow continues we see:

  • Trigger point development
  • Chronic compression of the facet joints
  • Irritation of nerve roots
  • Pain when combing the hair

dowagers hump pic-2

If your head is aching you may have thought it was the weight of your hair or your bobble. This can be contributing factors but it can also be compression of nerve roots at the greater occiput around C1 and C2. As a poor neck position develops the engrams will continue to be embedded deeper. These factors are strong contributors to dowagers hump because the soft tissue will develop and increase as a safety mechanism. So you then continue to work out lifting weights, Pilates, yoga, cycling, running etc. And your neck pain is worse than ever. I always get enquiries from people telling me that their exercise regime or pilates or yoga is making their pain worse.

“Self-stretching exercises may reduce neck pain, at least in the short term. It was reported that stretching 5 times per week was as effective in reducing chronic neck pain as twice-weekly manual therapy. Stretching exercises for the scalenes, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, pectoralis minor, and pectoralis major may be helpful.”[2]

A good physical or manual therapist should be able to recognize that this can come from incorrect loads at other major joints and it can be assessed from your squat pattern and thus show your ability to keep your cervicle neck in line . To read more on squatting click here:

“It has also been suggested that cognitive or emotional processes play a strong role in the genesis of neck-related disability, such as depression and anxiety or pain catastrophizing which may intervene in the relationship between structural pathology and disability. Given that no one mechanism appears to explain all variance in self-reported disability, it is clear that neck-related disability is not a unidimensional construct but must be appreciated from a variety of perspectives across different disciplines. Not the least of which is the patient’s own perspective of their condition.”[3]


“Equal but not the same “ Paul Chek




By | 2018-05-16T13:11:12+00:00 May 6th, 2017|anatomy, pain|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nisha is a certified Chek practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach.Her journey started when a visiting Laban teacher introduced her to Pilates at Dance College during her first year. It's effects were forgotten but she then re discovered Pilates through Michael King eleven years later whilst running her dance school. Her background spans over 25 years with formal training in classical ballet, modern dance, tap, national choreography, stage production and theatre. Her formation includes Pilates, Thai bodywork, Yoga, GYROTONIC, GYROKINESIS and anatomical studies. Her particular interest is fascia, and the connective lines and movement patterns that allow a full moving structure rather than the isolation of bones and muscles. Her fascination with questioning the traditions of modern medicine and fascination with searching for meaningful answers has taken her in many different directions and has offered her an abundance of opportunities gaining a wealth of knowledge. “I tried many movement modalities and extended my search after experiencing fascia, because of its simplicity in movement. Quickly, I noticed my own body changing as well as the bodies of my own clients. In the last 25 years of teaching I’ve developed a workout unique to Yoga Anatomy". Throughout her studies Nisha has done numerous dissections with Julian Baker and Cery Davies and has the opportunity to take lectures and courses from Robert Schleip, Joanne Avisons, Tom Myers, Matt Wallden, Emma Lane, Gary Carter, Paul Chek, Dan Hellman, Peter Blackaby, James de Silva plus many many more Nishas teaching method promotes reflective self-discovery and provides the requirements to integrate a shift in consciousness for attaining individual goals. She maintains that an attitude of compassion, consistency and joyous humor are excellent components to growth and expanded potential. She welcomes all level of movers from the beginner to the seasoned athlete who have a desire to increase their skill potential, also teachers and students. Her specialties include assisting post rehabilitative individuals, injury prevention for dancers and athletes and advanced movement programs.