In this post I am going to talk about a few options you have for chronic neck pain treatments, as well as show you some exercises you can do at home, and talk about some of the deeper emotional causes of neck pain.
Why should you listen to me?
Hi, I am Liz, qualified fitness professional and certified bioenergetics and yoga practitioner. The causes of neck pain can take a myriad of forms which include poor posture, repetitive strain injury, spinal misalignment right down to how the balance your hips affect how the muscles of your lower body and move right up into your neck muscles. When it comes to treatment, one of the best options for neck pain is to go and see a good osteopath. Osteopaths look at the bigger picture of how your entire body is moving and they look for dysfunction in one area that may be jammed up which is not only at the site of your neck, but other areas of your body which are contributing to the problem. For the most part, neck pain is caused by faulty biomechanics which is caused by your behaviour and your habits both physical and emotional throughout your day. Once you have seen an Osteopath, you have to make sure you do the recommended exercises that they give you.
Follow through on the exercises
There is actually little point in seeing a practitioner if you don’t follow through on what they recommend that you do. Many people see practitioners or doctors hoping they will have some magic bullet to ‘fix’ their problem without looking at their own behaviour patterns and lifestyle habits. There are other options for neck pain such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, and physiotherapy, but I’d first recommend you see an osteopath because of their holistic approach and the fact they have more training than other practitioners such as physiotherapists.
Some exercises you can try
So now I’ll get onto some easy exercises you can do at home to relieve neck pain which is often caused by stiff muscles around the spine and shoulders. One thing to be careful of here is that if you have any disc problems in the joints of your neck, this may not be appropriate for you or just go really really gently. One way you will know if you have disc problems in your neck is if you get tingling or pain or numbness down your arms into your fingers and that is an indication that the discs in your cervical spine are compressing the nerves that run down your arms. So, if this is you, be really careful with this exercise and do seek the guidance of a qualified Osteopath.
Grab a towel or tea towel or scarf
Go and grab yourself a bath towel or it can even work with a tea towel. The first exercise is you grab your towel and place it around your neck, and pull down relatively firmly, so you are creating a little but of resistance. Next you’re going to lean your head to one side about 25-30 times. You want to keep the resistance on the towel as you are doing this. (Watch at ….part in video above)
Breaking down the adhesions
What you are doing here is helping to break down adhesions in your neck muscles that are contributing to jamming up the joints in your neck causing pain. Rather than a static stretch, constant movement help to create blood flow which enhances the release of the muscles. Now we go to the other side. Just go gently but keep the resistance on the towel.
Next we are going to go on a diagonal movement like this and you just want to imagine you are drawing a diagonal line with your chin so your starting here and then moving it down towards the opposite shoulder. Pull the towel out to the side a little like this and repeat 25-30 times. Then do it on the other side.
Neck stabilisers and stretch
Next, you’re just going to place your thumb on your chin (and this is what it looks like from the side) then push your chin back like you are trying to create a double chin, at the same time as pushing back against your thumb. Repeat this around 25-30 times. Because most of us have a forward head posture as a result of constantly looking down at our phones or poor posture over laptops and tablets, this exercise can help to mobilize the muscles that have become chronically tight at the back of the base of your head.
Sing and roll your R’s
Lastly, and this one might seem a bit weird to you, but you can roll your tongue at the same time as singing a note (you don’t have to be a good singer or anything), and what you are looking out for is feeling the vibrations at the back of your neck and within your neck. So it looks like this: (demo), and then you repeat this as much as it feels good to you. The reason why this can help release your neck muscles is because our bodies and muscles respond to sound vibration and it helps to break up muscle holding patterns which have lead to pain and dysfunction over time. The other thing to keep in mind with any kind of muscle tightness and pain is that our repressed or unexpressed emotions are held in the muscles of our body, and when it comes to pain in the neck, there could be repetitive (and often unconscious) emotions you may be carrying around and could be the root cause of your neck pain. This is especially true if you have tried all the typical therapies available and you can’t seem to get extended relief. Now, this a subject for a whole other post, but for now, just keep in mind that chronic pain in the body at its root cause can be emotional, and using sound vibration is another way to release trapped emotions and tight muscles and get some relief.
Use a PEMF device for muscle relaxation and correction
The last thing I want to tell you about in relation to sound vibration and releasing tight muscles is a device called the MiHealth. What this is a pulsed electromagnetic field device, and there are a range of these kinds of devices on the market, but this one has been featured on the doctors show in the US, and these kinds of devices have a lot of studies behind them that prove their effectiveness. They have been used for bone healing, muscles injuries and general swelling as well as skin conditions. If you go into google and type in pub med pemf devices you;ll find a range of studies to support their effectiveness. But I just want to quickly demonstrate this one, because it can be very effective for muscle pain. In a nutshell, the way these devices works is based on sound frequencies. (watch video at…)
Use with guidance
I don’t recommend you go out and buy any old PEMF device or even this one without some guidance on how to use it, because incorrect use can actually make things worse, but with the correct use it really can be fantastic and for me personally has been excellent for whenever I have had muscle strains or injuries or excessive tightness in various areas, and it has also been great for my 4 year old for general calming of excessive emotions as young children often have trouble regulating their emotions and this has come in handy on more than one occasion. So there are multiple uses for this device that don’t just relate to muscle tightness and injuries, but also to emotions, immune system and mental fatigue.
A Final Note
In conclusion, the first thing I recommend for chronic neck pain treatment is to see a good osteopath and be sure to do the corrective exercises that they recommend. Secondly, try the towel and thumb exercises to release adhesions in your neck, as well as rolling your R’s at the same time as singing to experience the vibrations in your neck to further help break up tensions and trapped emotions. And finally, if you want to go deeper into finding relief for muscle tension, consider purchasing a MiHealth device
and get in contact with me
via my website contact page to arrange a Skype session on how you can use this device for yourself at home.
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