Are you suffering from head or neck pain? I hate to hear that. I want you to know that there ARE ways to get head and neck pain relief! Think of yourself like a tree, standing strong, straight and stately in a forest. Instead of bending towards the ground, you stretch your branches up to the sky. In this case, it’s good to have your head in the clouds!
Causes of Head and Neck Pain
One common cause of headaches and neck pain is muscle tension. As the Mayo Clinic shares, pain from muscle tension and poor posture can trigger headaches. Think of yourself all crunched up. Imagine, again, that tall tree if it’s all crunched up. When you’re spending long hours at the computer, you may find yourself slouching into poor posture. Poor posture while you work a manual labor job or stand at a cash register can feel just as bad. Once your head and neck begin to hurt, you may find yourself staying even stiffer to compensate, which can make your pain even worse!
Do You Have A Good Posture Habit?
This is why it’s especially important to pay attention to your posture and your habits. Bad habits–reaching, unsupported core, shoulders in your ears–are painful, but possible to change if you’re just aware and willing. And your posture matters a lot! You’re never too old (or young!) to improve your posture! Poor posture can lead to a variety of pain and instability. It can also lead to shoulder pain, so it’s always good to practice that posture.
Let’s look into the anatomy behind head and neck pain. Try feeling the base of your head, between your skull and your neck. You have eight tiny little muscles here, near where your head begins. These tiny muscles are neighbors to your body’s occipital nerve and the occipital artery that feeds your scalp and head. So when the occipital muscles get tight, they restrict and compress that important area, which leads to pain and decreased circulation. Not very neighborly behavior, if you ask me!
You can even feel where posture comes into the equation. Keep your spine straight and stand tall while feeling those little muscles. Now try slouching down and sticking your chin out — just this once.
Did you feel that? When you return to good posture, you can feel the area opening up for better circulation as those little muscles get space.
Do you see why I’m always talking about posture? Let’s keep those muscles from being squished!
When you do feel neck pain, you may feel the urge to throw your head back. But as you can tell by feeling your neck, dropping your head backwards makes this problem worse — you’re tightening and restricting the area. That keeps those nerves and vessels from functioning properly. Life hands us enough tension. We don’t need any extra tension today!
Preventing Head and Neck Pain
Okay, so now you know one of the causes of head and neck pain, you’re probably wondering: what do I do about it?
Well, if you’ve been following along so far, you’ll know that good posture, of course, is a must. If I sound like a broken record, it’s because the importance of posture really can’t be overstated. Push your chin back, drop your shoulders out of your ears, and feel those neck muscles lengthen. Remember this feeling, you want to keep it this way!
Stretching the Suboccipitals
Let’s try a little stretch of our muscles. Start by turning your head to the side and dropping your shoulders. Now you’ll want to reach your hand across your chest to where your neck meets your shoulder and gently pull on these muscles, letting the stretch be felt. Look towards the side you are stretching and take 30 seconds to softly pull, making sure to go gently and avoid hurting yourself.
Ask your body, and follow its cues — never force it. Feel free to use your other hand to reach under your chair’s seat to stabilize yourself.
See it in action: My YouTube Video: Easy Ways to Ease Headaches and Neck Pain For All Ages
Once you’ve stretched for 30 seconds, switch to the other side, making sure to tuck your chin and turn your head as you stretch the muscles.
It’s important to massage this area to help loosen up the muscles and give them more circulation. Your suboccipitals really shouldn’t be sore, but if they are, it means that they need your attention! Let’s give them some relief. Take off your glasses if you’re wearing any, and take care to massage around your ears and the back of your head. If they feel sore, keep the gentle massage up until the soreness is gone — it shouldn’t take very long!
Ice Is Your Friend
Finally, don’t forget the ice. I prefer big ice packs that can cover a wide area. If your ice pack is big enough, you can wrap it almost like a cape, covering the base of the neck down to the shoulders. Doesn’t that feel good?
Prayers and Takeaways
Managing neck and head pain can feel daunting. But now, you’ve got some tools in your toolbox, and a little more knowledge to help you keep proper posture and leave plenty of room for those suboccipitals.
Remember, you are a tall, stately tree standing strong in a forest. You don’t want to bend or slouch, you will reach great heights just by standing tall!
And now, a verse, Deuteronomy 10:16: “Therefore change your hearts, stop being stubborn or stiff-necked.”
Here is my prayer for you: Father in heaven, You are Creator and Healer. You know every pain, every trouble, every need of my friend and of me. You invite us, Lord, to turn to You, depend on Your wisdom, Your word, Your way, and Your time.
We ask, Father, to empower us in Your victory, Lord Jesus, over sin, death, and Satan. To refuse the ‘my way highway’ of being stiff-necked and self-dependent and to turn instead and trust in You.
Thank You, Creator God, for changing our hearts as You heal us, maybe not in the way or the time that we expect but better, eternally, and for our very best good in this life. I appreciate Your love, Lord, for my friend and for me.
You’ll never leave or abandon us, and You have the way through all of life’s problems if we will just trust and follow You. Help us, Lord, to listen to Your spirit. To follow more closely for the joy of the Lord is our strength. It is in Jesus’s almighty name for Your glory and our best good that I pray these things in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Thank you for joining me in today’s journey toward easing head and neck pain. Stand straight, relax your shoulders, and go make today a wonderful day!