Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert
Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney
Chronic Neck Pain and Headaches Can Ruin Your Day
Actually, chronic neck pain and headaches will do more than ruin your day.It can interfere with your daily activities and cause you to stop doing the things you enjoy. If you are an athlete, it can cause you to slow down so much that you stop doing all the sports you enjoy, and can have a serious impact on your career.
Yet, when the medical profession is searching for solutions to chronic neck pain and headaches, muscles are rarely considered. This is a major oversight. In fact, muscles cause a high percentage of chronic headaches, and almost all neck pains. The good news is, they are relatively simple to self-treat successfully!
First let’s take a look at your neck so it will be clear why muscles can cause chronic headaches.
Your cervical vertebrae start at the base of your skull. C1 is called “the Atlas” because it holds up your skull just as Atlas held up the world.
C2 has a bone in it that comes through the center of C1. The bone is called the “dens” and your skull sits on the point of it. It is because of this arrangement that you can turn your head left and right.
These two vertebrae are key to chronic headaches that are so severe they can be blinding.
Take a look at the muscle that is labeled “levator scapulae.” Nicknamed “the shrug muscle,” because it lifts up your shoulders, it originates on C1-4, although the greatest problem is with the C1-2 points. As your levator scapulae muscle gets tight, it pulls the two vertebrae to the side and down. This causes the bone to press into your spinal cord at the very base of your skull where it exits from your brain and begins its journey down to your tailbone.
The bone pressing into your spinal cord will cause horrific chronic headaches. And, as the muscle is also putting a strain on your shoulder, you will feel pain and tension right where your neck meets the top of your shoulder.
Chronic Headaches Can Be Caused By Poor Posture
Chronic headaches are often caused by a posture that is common lately because of looking down at our cell phones and computers.
Notice the graphics on the left, and then imagine the 42 lb head on the right not only putting a strain on the entire cervical spine, but since you are looking down, it is also having the heavy skull putting a twist onto the first two cervical vertebrae.
You can imagine what is happening to your spinal cord under these circumstances. The pressure is severe, and a chronic headache will result.
Chronic Neck Pain and Headache Treatment That Works
Here is a two-step Julstro self-treatment method that works. First lean your head back and grasp the muscle at the back of your neck.
This is easier to do when you have a headache as it will be thick and tight, but if you want to work at preventing a chronic headache, you’ll need to move your head around so the muscle can be felt.
If you don’t have a headache, just take your flat fingertips and press directly into the muscle fiber. Hold the pressure for 30 seconds, let go, and then press again.
Next take the three middle fingers of your opposite hand (ie: If you are treating the left side of your neck, use the three fingers on your right hand and press directly into your tight muscle.)
Hold the pressure for 30 seconds and then just move 1-finger width down the muscle and start over again.
Go from the base of your skull all the way to the top of your shoulder. If you have a chronic headache, the muscle will stand out and you’ll have no problem finding it.
Work on both sides of your neck, even if the chronic headache pain is only on one side of your head.
Stretch the muscles by holding the pressure on the muscle and then bringing your head down toward your chest.
Follow these steps for chronic neck pain and headache relief.
Wishing you well,
About The Author
Julie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.
She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease