While most of us have a look in the mirror at least once a day, few of us look at our appearance from a different angle, such as from the side. But, the view from the side can be quite revealing if you suffer from chronic neck pain.

First, note the position of your head in relation to your shoulders. Is it right above the shoulders or does it lean forward from your chest? If it does, this is called forward head posture and it can result from a problem in your neck. Dysfunction lower in your spine can also cause this problem. It’s not uncommon to gain weight in the abdominal region as you age. When this happens, the body must counter-balance the weight gain by causing the lumbar spine to “sway back.”

While this “sway back” problem can create pain in the lumbar spine, it can also have far-reaching effects on the neck’s posture. Usually, someone with a protruding stomach and sway back will have somewhat rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. If treatment is only directed at the neck without considering how other areas may affect the stability of the neck, then the results may be less than optimum.

Doctors of chiropractic are trained to look at the whole patient, and not just his or her primary complaint. They know that dysfunction in more distant areas can cause neck pain by referral or they can impede complete recovery because the body is compensating for abnormal posture or movement elsewhere.

X-rays of the full spine can show this abnormal posture as can a detailed postural analysis.

So, do you like what you see when you view your posture from the side? If your posture leaves something to be desired, or you’re wondering whether your neck problem could be improved by addressing poor posture in another part of your spine, then it is important to be thoroughly checked.