How to deal with neck, back & shoulder pain

Neck, shoulder and back pain are the daily issues I see in my clinic and the main reason people join the Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program at In today’s blog we are going to consider these common complaints and see how Somatics can help identify and address recurring pain.

Global pain

According to practical pain management (, it is estimated that up to 80% of the US population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. The treatment of low back pain (LBP), in particular, runs at least $50 billion in US healthcare costs each year.

Worldwide, years lived with disability caused by LBP have increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015.

So why is back pain increasing?  Can we do anything to relieve the pain millions are suffering with around the world?  The answer is yes!  Let explain how and why.

Look with ‘soft eyes’

In my clinic I see clients that have been through the health care system and virtually tried everything. Quite often they are told conflicting information which creates further confusion about what they can and can’t do. As a result, they often become anxious and apprehensive to move and begin holding their breath with movement, often bracing their core, creating further rigidity and pain. So to begin with I like to educate clients about their brain and how it patterns and works with your muscles as a system. Teaching them to move away from old thoughts of treating one specific muscle and instead looking with soft eyes, standing back and seeing their entire body as a very well arranged and organised system.

During my clinical sessions or within the Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online Program (, I teach you how your mind and body work together, how they deal with stress, repetitive actions and thoughts. This will create deep neural pathways which affect your posture, mobility, pain levels and depth of breathing. Let us consider your posture for a moment. During stressful periods in your life, your brain automatically helps to deal with the event. Without you realising it, an area of your brain responsible for unconscious actions (such as heart rate, digestive function and breathing) controls stress reflexes which are triggered when you are exposed to stress, anxiety and high pressure situations. As you know, we live most of our life on autopilot, so many of our movements, postures, thoughts, emotions and environments are the same everyday. This creates a new learned behaviour and posture. Before you know it, the stress that you deal with on a daily basis has created very tight, tense muscles within your back, neck and shoulders. No amount of stretching will release this tension because your brain is holding them unconsciously or subconsciously tight. The only way to change the tone and tension of the belly of your muscle is to perform a systematic and methodical process called PANDICULATION.

Pandiculation is the 3 step process we watch cats, dogs and other vertebrate animals do! They don’t stretch, they pandiculate. Notice the next time your pet is moving, they create a tiny contraction, then slowly release and lengthen (within their natural movement range) and finally they completely rest, allowing any residue tension to fully release. Pandiculation arouses the area of the brain which then communicates to the sensory and motor neurones in your muscles. It is only when you arouse the brain with pandiculation, that you can fully release tight, tense muscles.

Take action and feel better

So let's summarise what we have discussed in this week’s blog. Firstly we have identified there is a real issue globally with back pain. When we address the fact that our brain patterns muscle tension and tightness due to stress, anxiety, fear, poor posture and habits, just to name a few, then we can make changes. By standing back and considering our entire mind and body as a whole system helps to identify that the restriction in movement comes from a entire chain of muscles govern by the instructions from your brain. With pandiculation, we are able to release these tight, tense muscles because it is performed in a methodical and systematic manner to allow the sensory and motor nerves within your muscles to release long held tension which has been causing you to be a statistic in the global study of back, neck and shoulder pain.

Would you like to learn the skills and knowledge I give to my clients in the comfort of your own home? I have created an online program for you to fully immerse yourself in the area of Somatics, mindfulness, mindset principles, lifestyle and nutrition. It continues to be a popular choice for many around the world because it is self paced and I am always available via email or through social media if you need support. The great part about the online program is that the information starts to create moments where you may say, “Ah, that’s why I get that recurring pain!” With the skills and knowledge you are then able to take back control of your health and wellbeing.

To learn more, go to and check out my program. Also check out all my free resources to get you started on your journey of Total Somatic Movement.

I look forward to teaching you these amazing skills.

Take care,

Heidi Hadley xx

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