Small Changes can Cause Large Adaptations

Small Changes can Cause Large Adaptations

Recently I came across a very interesting and thought provoking case study. The study examined deep cervical neck pain and the wearing of eye glasses. You wouldn’t think something so small in weight and structure could elicit any change or adaptation in the human body. Can something so small throw physiological homeostasis a curve ball? It can. And it did.  The subjects were suffering severe pain in the deep cervical muscles of the neck.            

The probability of wearing eye glasses resulting in neck pain was researched. The research found that the weak neck muscle of the test subjects was the cause of the pain. They also discovered by just adjusting their line of sight changed the head angle and that resulted in an adjusted neck angle, thus causing the pain.

So what did they do about it? They got Strong! The researchers designed a protocol to progressively overload the neck to increase strength. What happened? As the neck muscles got stronger the neck pain went away.

If you think about it, glasses weigh ounces, but caused a great change in the neck. Also, just adjusting how a person moves their head to see an object disrupted homeostasis in the body.

The average football helmet weighs between 8 to 10 pounds. If you have ever worn a football helmet for a period of time you know that a face mask changes the way you see things. The athlete must adjust the angle of his neck to tilt or nod the head if he wants see what’s happening on the field.

If we now know you need a strong neck to adjust to glasses then imagine the adaptation an athlete goes through to accommodate this extra 10 pounds his neck must support.

We all know that a fatigued neck is prone to injury. So what do we do? We protect the athlete by getting their neck Strong before they wear the helmet.

We then continue to increase that neck strength throughout the season. To keep the neck STRONG!

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