People with stiff necks don’t have stiff necks – they have stiff bodies and usually highly repressed active emotions.

The cervical vertebrae are part of the spine. When we have neck pain and are trying to figure out where it is coming from, we are unaware of it. The neck feels still if we can’t move the rest of the spine. However, when we learn to include the entire spine in the movement, the neck will become softer. We are now also consciously using an ever larger part of our body. This leads to the body becoming more intelligent. Our control over movement increases the more aware we are of whether we perform the movements naturally.

The movement of the neck depends on the movement of the whole body.

Body movement results from brain impulses in the motor part of the nervous system. The brain’s reaction is a reaction to the impact of the environment on the body through the sensory part of the nervous system. Our behavior results from connections between the environment and the body and between the body and the brain. People with stiff necks find it difficult to turn and lift their heads, and it hurts when they stretch them; they cannot look behind them without twisting their whole bodies. They chronically hold their heads in a humble or proud posture even when it is unnecessary. They are worried that this situation will become commonplace and gradually worsen. Because of neck pain, their general well-being is bad, they look worried, depressed, and sad, they feel sick and unable to work or signal to their surroundings that others are above them and are more important and valuable.

There are seven vertebrae in the neck, but in reality, the movement of the neck begins in the pelvis and involves the entire body from the feet to the eyes. So if the body is tight because the muscles are chronically tense, the neck is also tight. AEQ learning makes it possible to recognize unnecessary and excessive tightness and tension, especially in the body, which is the most and first constricted when it is unable to respond spontaneously and authentically and influence the environment. The increase in emotional maturity, which is the basis of AEQ learning, enables us to be more efficient in using our bodies and to be less afraid of life. When we learn to feel the body again and to move correctly, when we know how to control the movements of this part of the body and do not keep the muscles chronically tense during every movement, or when they do not strain excessively, the body becomes dynamic and coordinated with the muscles that are contracted while opposite muscles relax. With the lack of fear and increased efficiency of our responses and influence on life, our movement will become more relaxed, and at the same time, the neck will also move in a relaxed and soft way. We are no longer afraid to look into the future, turn back to face the past and look at our surroundings.

Stiff and tense muscles of the torso are one of the most common problems in the modern world due to the fast pace of life, a lack of free time, and too much stress. Constant activation of the red and green light reflex changes the spine’s function and, with it, the function of the spine’s cervical part. The increased curvature of the lumbar part of the back (lordosis) consequently leads to a change in the position and center of gravity of the skull, the chin moves forward, so the muscles of the shoulders and neck carry more weight of the head. This eventually leads to chronic tension of these muscles, reduced head mobility, neck pain, headaches, and migraines. With the AEQ method, we painlessly help regain control over the torso muscles and raise emotional maturity, thus changing the spine’s mobility. This way, the posture is corrected, and the muscles are relieved of the burden of a fast-paced life, large expectations, and the fear of making a mistake. All this is a condition for neck pain to subside.

Of course, the most common reason for neck pain is psychosomatic. The shoulders and neck play an important role in controlling the expression of emotions and holding back anger, rage, and contempt. When we are not allowed to show on our face, in our eyes, or with the way we speak, what bothers us, hinders us, threatens us, or limits us, we contract the muscles that connect the head and torso. If this condition is frequent, sensorimotor amnesia occurs in that part of the body. We hunch our necks, push our heads forward and look at the ground more and more often if those around us expect us to remove ourselves. A defensive posture that prevents removal does keep the head up but at the cost of severely strained occiput and upper back muscles, which can result in cervical disc herniation.

Aleš Ernst, author of the AEQ method and AEQ breathing

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