Have you ever noticed how the gut affects neck movement? Me neither, until the past couple of years. So I tried to figure it out with my patients. And it's simple.
The more someone has spine movement problems beneath the neck, the more the neck has difficulty moving. Further, the way the abdominal and even thoracic viscera behave interferes with spine movement. Ipso facto (I know, good use of Latin), gut misbehaviour interferes with the neck. But how?
Think of this. The connective tissue that wraps around your abdominal organs is strongly attached to the front of the spine around the 1st lumbar vertebra. If and when this connective tissue increases its tension, there's a tension pulling on the L1 towards the front, ie increasing lordosis and/or joint/tissue pressure. Further, the connective tissue attachment is biased towards the right side of the spine, from L1 towards the sacroiliac joint. So, an increase in connective tissue tension pulls on the lumbar spine towards the front and right. This can create rotation of the lumbar vertebral bodies. Since the thorax sits on the lumbar spine, the thorax can flex and rotate in response to the lumbar spine - either way. And since the cervical spine sits on the thorax, it too can respond with increased mid-cervical lordosis and segmental rotation.
Imagine this - a misbehaving batch of abdominal organs pulls your spine forward and your neck reacts, interfering with how the neck moves.
Now imagine this - what can cause the gut to misbehave? Well, even if a person doesn't have a macroscopically identified (colonoscopy) gut problem, the gut can still misbehave. And even if microscopically identified issues don't exist (blood or stool samples), the gut can still misbehave? Not sure how? Try dehydration. Try dominant apical breathing over diaphragmatic breathing. The abdomen holds about 30% of all fluid in the body, and it is pumped with each breath by the diaphragms action. If you dehydrate, and reduce the pumping output, you get reduce and/or stagnant (in some parts of the gut) behaviour. The result? A dried batch of organ sections, pulling on its attachment in the spine.
And now imagine this - you have a stagnant section of the abdominal organs, dehydrated. Consider that the contents of the stomach and/or intestines, if stagnant, can lead to fluid flow difficulties upstream, in the tube or in the tissue fluid flow. Congestion. The large intestine is congested because of reduced diaphragm excursion. So the small intestine is backed up and congestion, affecting fluid flow in the duodenum, and the stomach, and the oesophagus tissue fluid, creating tissue tension in the oesophagus which is in the thorax and neck. And the thorax and neck don't move very well. And you improve hydration acutely, and reset diaphragmatic breathing, and do manual therapy to the viscera until an audible gurgle occurs to indicate restoration of fluid flow, and your re-assessment reveals improvement in lumbar, thorax and cervical movement. It's all connected. And health before function before performance.
So a neck problem doesn't demand an evidence-based neck solution. A neck problem is the organism's most currently notable symptom, demanding of an evaluation of the system, an intervention that can be measurably seen to change the system, including the necks behaviour. The parts-based evidence-based demands are taking up too much attention. The alternative is an improvement in the attention to patterns-evaluation that honours regional interdependence.