Friday, August 7, 2009

Necks and Their Thoughts

The human body is incredibly plastic. Every one of its 70,000 trillion cells are in constant motion, responding to the demands placed on them. This includes the demands created by our thoughts. It's been well established by modern science that stress has negative effects on the body, but it's possible to go further and see that specific emotions and thoughts tend to attack certain parts of the body. Although there are no absolutes, there are generalities that can serve as jumping-off points for you to increase your understanding of the relationship that exists among your thoughts, emotions and physical body.

Let's take a look at necks. Necks are hotbeds of emotional holding and physical complaints. For many people, neck trouble starts at birth. Think about the position of a baby in the womb for nine months, give or take. The baby's spine forms a continuous curve in one direction. Her trip down the birth canal is the first time her spine changes from that curved position and starts to straighten. Most babies are born head first, and it's common for their head and neck to be manipulated by the obstetrician during delivery. Some babies even have forceps or suction applied to their heads to force them out of the birth canal. That's a lot of neck trauma!

Since the obstetrician is a baby's first experience of an authority figure, and that authority figure may have caused the baby pain in her neck, a lot of us grow up equating neck pain with authority figures. Does your neck tighten up, do you get tension headaches or tight shoulders when dealing with authority figures (parents, teachers, bosses, cops, etc.)? How about your jaw or eyes? What is your body doing right now as you read this?

Communication between the brain and muscles happens in 1/2500th of a second. Between birth and about age seven virtually all of our brain to muscle pathways are set for life. But in addition to sending commands to move muscles, the brain also learns to send emotional content to muscles, as well as to organs and glands throughout the body. As our coordination and movement patterns are developed, so are the ways in which we hold unresolved emotions in our bodies. Just as the brain's command to walk follows well-worn pathways of nerves to muscles, so the brain's processing of certain thoughts and emotions follow the same paths over and over.

What else can be going on in the neck besides a conflict with authority? How about stubbornness? You've heard the expression "stiff-necked" to describe someone who won't budge, right? Other typical issues that show up in the neck are disappointment, anger, obligation and fear. But let's go a little further and notice which side of the neck is affected. Problems on the right side are often concerned with males (either with a male or as a male), or can be about the past; those on the left may be female (either with a female or as a female), or about the future.

But don't stop there. Like the old song, the "neckbone's connected to the headbone." Tension headaches, jaw and vision problems, and ear/hearing issues can originate in the neck. So can shoulder problems. Take a look in the mirror -- is one shoulder higher than the other? Is one side or the other pulled in closer to your body? Right or left side? If you have right side problems, it might be caused by overgiving and too much obligation in your life. If the left side bothers you, think about whether or not you are a good receiver, and if you feel you have enough support in your life.

The body never lies. You can rationalize all you want, but the body will always tell the truth. After all, your thoughts are the cause, your body is the effect. So, what's going on in your neck?

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