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Do You Suffer From Neck Pain???? I do… and it sucks!!
I recently spent the entire day rehabilitating my locked-up neck! It was so tight, I ended up with a horrible migraine and could not even move my head. I have suffered from migraines since I was a child, and have had neck pain for the past seven years that has been getting worse as time goes by. Over the years I have incorporated various alternative therapy modalities that have improved my mobility, decreased the frequency of my migraines and keeps me off prescription pain meds. I currently use minimal advil as the only conventional medication.
As a nurse, and more specifically, as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who has been the anesthesia provider in various orthopedic and neurological OR’s, I know I am not alone.
Doctors estimate that seven out of 10 people will be troubled by such pain at some point in their lives. One in 10 adults is hurting right now. And between 50% to 85% of people with such pain will be bothered by it again within the next five years. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/neck-pain-a-troubleshooting-guide-to-help-you-find-relief)
My goal has always been to resolve the problems that are causing the neck pain. On my journey, I have found numerous alternative therapies extremely helpful. I want to share what has worked for me… as my neck mobility is very much improved and the frequency of my migraines has drastically decreased. These are the therapies I use to keep me mobile and moving!
Be sure to watch the video below! I demonstrate two of the therapies mentioned and Heather Baur, Yoga Instructor, leads the staff of Primal Life Organics through a Pain-In-The-Neck Yoga session to help alleviate the strain and stress on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and back! Join in, it’s only 15 minutes and it feels so good!
Trina’s Preventative and Restorative Alternative Therapies for Neck Pain
(Please note: this is not intended to replace medical advice, medications and therapies. Please consult a licensed physician before instituting any of these practices.)
- Hot Yoga: the heat helps warm the muscles and allows for more movement. Stretching exercises are coupled with breathing to increase capacity. I avoid all inversions that put strain on the neck. Favorite stretches include forward fold, eagle, side stretch, child’s pose, plow (advanced but really stretches the neck).
Breo Ineck2 Shiatsu Neck Massager ($180) relaxes the cervical vertebrae by pressing and kneading the pressure points and muscles around the neck to help RELIEVE tension and stress, and alleviate stiffness to fully RELAX the neck and shoulders. The price might seem steep, but it is lightweight, cordless, compact- all features that make it easily transportable to and from work, on vacation or for business trips. Powerful and easy to use in multiple ways. Use: 2+ times a day for 5-10 minutes.
Halovie Cervical Collar Air Traction Neck Brace Support
($73) helps people with cervical spondylopathy (age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal joints and discs in the neck that causes pain) do self treatments. Frequent use of the device will help people prevent cervical spondylopathy, relieve cervical pain and fatigue, release clinical symptoms by air traction. This traction device is similar to cervical traction collars, except it has inflatable balloons on the inside. When inflated, this decompresses the spine and stretches the muscles, all while keeping proper alignment. Use: 2-3 times a day, for 5-10 minutes. (Not meant to be worn all day).
- Teeter EP-560 Inversion Table with Back Pain Relief Kit ($378) Pricey, but totally worth the investment. Lengthens the spine and has so many benefits, I can’t possibly define them all! Please read this or watch this for the benefits of inverting yourself like a bat! Use: 5 days a week, usually before bedtime.
- Cryotherapy (full body or local)- the use of intense cold to decrease inflammation and speed healing. There are numerous benefits to cryotherapy. I typically do full body cryotherapy treatments 4-6 days a week. When my neck becomes locked up or painful, I will opt for a local treatment to my neck and shoulders instead. To read more about the benefits of cryotherapy, read this.
- Deep Tissue Massage Therapy: target the neck, shoulders and back 30 minutes, twice a week.
- Meditation: benefits, too numerous to mention. I really enjoy using the MUSE Headband because it provides biofeedback WHILE you are meditating! It has greatly improved my meditation practice! Mediation calms me, keeps me focused, provides energy and inspires me. Practice: 7-12 minutes daily.
- Dry Needle Therapy: Dry Needling involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the region of a "Trigger Point'. The aim of Dry Needling is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. Dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin with very few side effects. For anyone local in Akron, Ohio- Susan Masturzo at OnPoint Therapy does an amazing job. I get treatments when needed during a pain crisis and occasional maintenance treatments.
- Preventative Health (natural): Petadolex relaxes cerebral blood vessels and TheraMend COX-2 Flex Capsules which eases pain, stiffness and inflammation.
Join us every Wednesday at Primal Life Organics as we take time out of our busy work-day and share a 15 minute yoga session with you!! We broadcast LIVE from my personal FaceBook page, so FRIEND me and tune in every Wednesday!!
If you suffer from neck or back pain, I hope you find some relief strategies here! Please post a comment below if you try one of these suggested therapies, have any strategies or ideas for those of us who need some guidance!