Tension Neck Pain – Why Taking Tylenol Won’t Help

Do you wear your shoulders for earrings?

This is a common issue with individuals who work on a computer with their shoulders “hiked-up”. Over a period of time this becomes a learned position, your muscles become stuck and will not be able to do the job or function that they’re supposed to do – contract and relax. When a muscle is static or “stuck” — that is, when its not regularly relaxed and contracted over the course of a day, there is a shortage in the blood flow to that muscle.

And its just a matter of time before, your  muscles will begin to react to the changing amount of nutrients and waste products that are circulating. Adequate blood flow is absolutely necessary to remove waste products which are produced from your working muscles and to supply oxygenated rich blood into them.

Without this oxygenated blood, the lack of it creates a toxic environment within the muscle called Ischemia. And, “no!” taking Tylenol will not help with tension headaches and neck pain caused by muscle imbalances.

Muscle Imbalance:

Our body’s muscles are designed to work in balanced symmetry. When some muscles get lazy and others have to take up the slack, this can lead to serious pain problems. A chronically contracted trapezius muscle can develop painful trigger points which refer pain or numerous other possible sensations (thermal, tingling, numbness, aching) either radiating out from the muscle or felt in other parts of the body.

Your upper back muscles (trapezius) become more dominant and tight while, through reciprocal inhibition,  your lower trapezius muscles become weak. Your lower traps work counter-balance to the upper traps by pulling your shoulders down but not when, your upper traps are so tight they take over. This excessive elevated shoulder position becomes your normal posture. Your lower trapezius muscles cannot pull your shoulder/scapula down thus becoming weak from being over-stretched. Implementing a strengthening program for the lower traps will help but not without first releasing the tightness in the upper traps. General rule is, “lengthen before you strengthen”.

Increased Joint Stress and Joint Degeneration:

When this muscle imbalance problem goes uncorrected pain will set in and what happens is you develop improper movement patterns which will affect other parts of your body like your shoulder joint for instance. Your body’s protective pain adaptation process will alter, your normal movement patterns and decrease your range of motion. Now every time, you move your arms or shoulders, your upper trapezius muscles will fire first in that movement chain; subjecting that body part to overuse injuries.

With the reemergence of primitive normal movements, your body learns a new faulty movement pattern that becomes ingrained. This ingrained (faulty) pattern becomes learned by your motor cortex as the new movement pattern, thus reinforcing the negative. Joint positioning is altered with muscle imbalances and thus joint capsule stress is increased and proprioception is decreased.

Poor proprioception ultimately may be responsible for joint degeneration (Barrett, Cobb and Bentley 1991; O’Connor et al. 1992). Janda also believed that muscle imbalance presents a much greater danger for joints than did muscular weakness alone. Therefore, you can say that functional pathology may in fact cause structural pathology.

This is basic information there is allot more to consider here, but if you like Roman Paradigm Massage & Therapy to find your neck again so you do not have shoulders as earrings call us at 408 247-1169. we can help!


“Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance, The Janda Approach” Phil Page, Clare Frank & Robert Lardner



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