Neck pain is one of the most common complaints for which patients present to chiropractic offices. Headaches are also another very common problem and often go hand-in-hand with the presence of neck pain. So, the question that is frequently asked is, “…why do headaches and neck pain often occur together?”
There are many types of headaches, some of which we have discussed previously with migraine and tension-type headaches being the most common. This month, the focus is on how headaches and the neck are related to each other and what YOU can do about it.
The connection between neck pain and headaches is robust! In certain instances, headaches will exclusively occur when there is neck discomfort. One explanation is that the initial three nerves exiting from the top of the cervical spine (C1, C2, and C3) need to pass through the dense group of muscles inserting onto the back/base of the skull along the occipital rim. Due to the accumulation of stress in the neck muscles, tightening occurs, leading to the compression or pinching of these three nerves. Consequently, pain radiates to the back of the head and sometimes extends over the vertex to the eyes or behind the eyes. Pressing firmly into those muscles at the top of the neck or base of the skull often elicits a sensation of "a good hurt" because they are typically tense, given that most of us carry our heads too far forward, necessitating constant muscle contraction to prevent further gliding.
So, what actions can YOU take? Let's discuss some EXCELLENT exercises for posture retraining. Begin by tucking in your chin until your voice undergoes a pitch change (sounding "funny"). Maintain this position by slightly releasing the chin so the voice clears. This is the preferred posture or head position. Initially, it may be challenging to sustain this position for an extended period as your muscles (and brain) are unaccustomed to it, leading to a tendency to revert to the old habit of forward head carriage or chin poking. Patience is crucial as it takes approximately three months of consistent self-reminding to establish this new "habit pattern" in the brain.
Another effective exercise involves tucking the chin in as far as possible (creating a double or triple chin), holding for 3 seconds, then tilting the head back as far as possible without releasing the chin tuck and holding for another 3 seconds. Repeat this 2-3 times per "set" and perform multiple sets throughout the day.
A third beneficial exercise to improve forward head carriage posture entails lying on your back on a bed, positioning the edge of the bed at the middle of the neck, and allowing the head to hang off the bed. Place a tightly rolled-up towel under the neck so it rests on the bed's edge, allowing your head to fall back toward the floor. Take deep breaths, focus on relaxing all neck muscles, and periodically rotate your head left to right or right to left to feel different muscles stretching. Ideally, dedicate 15 minutes to this exercise, but even a few minutes can yield positive results!
Between maintaining a chin tuck upright posture and retraining the curve in your neck with the head hang off the bed exercise, you’ll feel (and look) much better!
So, if you are experiencing neck pain, pinched neck nerve, cervical radiculopathy or pain in your neck muscles and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up.
You may wonder, “Do I need an MRI scan of my neck and who around me can I get a referral from?”
Some people around you will try stretching first to see if they get relief from their neck pain. A pulled muscle generally will get better with rest. Persistent or worsening pain intensity and/or frequency necessitates a visit to see a professional near you.
Check out what the experts say about chiropractic care for neck pain here:
Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by if we’re in your area on your day off for a walk-in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.
So if you find yourself experiencing neck pain that is affecting your quality of life and allowing you to enjoy Fort Myers Beach. Come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway.
If you would like to avoid getting neck pain in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.
Don't let neck pain stop you from enjoying the beautiful SWFL! Dr. Tim Harcourt is here to give you the relief you need.
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