Neck pain, occipital pain and headache pain are very common issues. Here are some simple tools that can help alleviate some of the pressure and pain. We wanted the practical here, not bog you down with research, so go take action on some of these simple tools and feel relief!
1. Chiropractic Care
To start, in order to officially know why and get to the root cause of your pain, you would want to start by addressing and looking at your nervous system and x-rays to understand structurally what is going on in your neck. Often times, the muscular problems and pain that you feel is due to the structure of your spine is off, or not in alignment. The best way to get to the cause would be to take specific x-rays that would tell you the condition of your spine.
Warm up and get the muscles in the neck area moving with a wobble ball or exercise ball or disc. Taking your spine, specifically your neck, through a series of full range of motion exercises. Rock on a exercise disc in a side to side motion where the neck is getting involved as much as possible. Bring your ear to shoulder as much as you can. Bring your right ear down to the right shoulder and your left ear down to the left shoulder. Repeat side to side 30 times each side. This is warming up little muscles and ligaments of the spine and gets the spinal fluid moving. Your spine does not have it’s own blood supply so it relies on spinal fluid to nourish it. When you sit all day long, you don’t nourish the spine, so this is an essential tool I use with almost every spine problem because it gets the spine moving. Another motion you can do is: front to back. Where you rock your hips front while looking up at the ceiling, and rock your hips back as you look down at the floor. You want to get as much range of motion in your spine as you can. You can also try rotating your hips in a circular motion. Motion! Keep your spine moving and hydrated!
I would also recommend a cervical traction unit to help with motion of the neck and spine. Often these can be portable and mounted over a doorframe. It can be used to extend the spine and to open up the disc spaces. This helps stop the degenerative process and will nourish the discs. This is important especially if you are experiencing occipital pain or headache pain.
Two reinforcing isometric strengthening exercises work really well for pain and muscle strengthening. However, it depends on your spine and what your x-rays read to determine which of the following two is best for you. Knowing your specific conditions and x-rays would give us exactly what we need to give you the proper tool for relief.
The first exercise is cervical flexion. You will put your hands on your forehead you’re going to keep your ear over your shoulder in a good, aligned posture. You will push your head against your hands and resist any movement. Hold that pressure for 10 seconds. Continue with 10 seconds on and 10 seconds rest, for 25 reps. You will feel the muscles working that are weak, they might even be shaking. You can do this when you are lying down which would help prevent your head from moving too much.
The majority of people would need cervical flexion exercises based on x-rays, but some people need cervical extension exercise. Your hands will go behind the head and you’re doing the same thing just in the other direction. So you will be pushing back against the hands and your head is going backward into extension. Most of us don’t need more extension; we’re already in extension because of our slouching and poor posture.
4. Correcting Posture
Dentists have taught us to use a toothbrush to take care of our teeth, what do we do to take care of our spine? You could pull all of the teeth out of your mouth and you might look different, but you only get one spine and if you wear it out, well, that’s it. Every night, just like brushing your teeth before bed, you can use spinal molding rolls to hold, mold, and correct posture issues. Molds can be used to help mold your spine; all while you’re sleeping. Simply, lie on your back with the larger Livingood Daily Posture Support Roll placed behind your neck, and the little one is going to go under the lower back. Lie on these for 20 minutes and work your way up to a longer time. Most of us sit all day, work on computers, hold the bad posture, and the best way to “un-do” all of that bad is to use spinal molds to help correct the bad.
There you have it. Simple, practical, suggestions have helped so many people receive the relief that they are looking for when it comes to pain.