Owls are known for their ability to turn and twist their heads – almost all the way around! Many can turn their heads 270 degrees or more. Unfortunately, we humans don’t have quite the same ability. Although there is individual variation, most people are able to turn their head 90 degrees left or right from center. In other words, if you were facing straight north, you should be able to look straight east and straight west by turning your head only. When it comes to bending side to side, we can typically only go about 45 degrees – half of what the owl in the picture is demonstrating! If you notice a deficiency in your movement, it could be due to a structural limitation which cannot be changed, but more likely it is a joint restriction that can be corrected!
Remember last month when you noticed some pain and discomfort in your neck? You decided to just tough it out and take a painkiller or two. You were pleased because within a week or so it was gone, right?… or was it? You probably had a combination of muscle and joint irritation with the original issue and unless you did something to physically correct the problem chances are that it is still there! Over time the muscles will compensate, the inflammation will decrease- you won’t feel it as much, but there is still underlying joint restriction. A careful evaluation will reveal limited movement to one side or the other… sometimes even both.
This is just one of the tests that I will do to help discover the problem when you come in with neck pain. Often the first symptom people notice when they have a neck problem is the inability to shoulder check properly when driving. You may have pain at the end of your range of motion or perhaps just a steady stiffness throughout. Many times simple neck pain will resolve in just one or two chiropractic treatments, but that all depends on how long the problem has been there. Have a look around the room you are sitting in right now… how far can you turn without pain?