As an upper cervical specific specialist, this is an area along with reoccurring migraines, that is the bulk of the patients that seek care in my office. Along with conservative nervous system management care, and a very close monitoring of the alignment and proper movement of the top two bones in the neck (to learn more about this you can visit drgrantdennis.com), these are some things that if you suffer from neck pain you should do daily in order to maximize effective healing:
Shower Massage Range of Motion – This is something that is super easy to incorporate everyday, and it can have a great result on your neck’s overall mobility and range of motion. If you suffer from neck stiffness, or pain, every morning when you get in the shower when you start your day (or at the end before you get in bed), take your neck through all of the ranges of motion, while warm/hot water is massaging the muscles of your neck. Because heat acts as a blood flow promotor by increasing the diameter of blood vessels, it can allow for proper drainage of inflammation, and help promote proper nutrients to the muscles, and discs of your neck. Be very careful when you first start doing this, and work your way to deeper ranges of motion, as you get more comfortable. You can also increase the effectiveness of this by incorporating warm olive, coconut, or mustard oil to the muscles of your neck, as you self-massage them in the shower.
Headrest Pushups – As you are driving your daily commute to work and back each day, incorporate what I like to call headrest pushups. This is where you push the back of your head against the headrest, and retract your chin straight backwards. What you essentially are trying to do is activate the small muscles of your neck, which very rarely get activated. Since we spend so much time looking down at our cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices, this will help promote the strengthening of the postural muscles that help keep the head up, and take the tension off the muscles that become weak, stiff, and painful. Start off with 3 sets of 10, and work your way up to 5 sets of 10 per day. This exercise will also ensure that your headrest is at the proper height in the case of an accident.
If you will incorporate these two things to your daily routine, I think you will begin to appreciate a decrease in the frequency and intensity with which you are experiencing neck pain, and stiffness. If you add in these steps for 6 months or so, and still are not getting any relief, then you most definitely could be an ideal client for our clinic. But for the meantime, give these a try; hope it helps!
Yours in health,
Dr. Grant, drgrantdennis.com, 501-420-2815