Neck pain and headaches can really be debilitating, frustrating, and annoying. Many times neck pain leads to headaches and vice versa. Other times neck pain aggravates your shoulder and vice versa. To really figure out what is going on you need a thorough assessment by a professional who understands your neck, bio-mechanics, and how it connects to the rest of your body and life. At Kineci we believe in a holistic approach in which we understand and appreciate that your neck is not isolated but an integrated part of Your Body-Mind-&-Spirit.
If your neck is bothering you or you have headaches here are 3 simple exercises and 3 tips you can do to help yourself start to feel better and move easier.
Stress plays a big role in how you feel and your pain. You are a Body-Mind-&-Spirit and each part cannot be separated from the other parts. When you are hurting with neck pain and/or headaches your body literally hurts, it makes it hard to concentrate with your Mind, and is depressing for your Spirit. Stress, emotional turmoil, anguish, anxiety all can manifest itself physically by increasing or aggravating your pain. Stress tends to tighten up muscles and many people feel stress like the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Finding ways to deal with and manage your stress is key. Everyone is different and there is no one-right way to deal with stress. You need to find what’s right for you. Breathing, meditating, getting into nature, writing, exercising, whatever works for you to release and alleviate stress will help reduce your neck pain and headaches.
Movement helps blood flow. Many times when your neck is hurting it makes you want to do less. Doing less is ok but being too sedentary also causes problems. Reducing your activities to not aggravate your neck pain is a good thing. However, it is easy to slip into a habit of not moving your body, arms, and trunk. Your body will feel better with gentle movement to get your blood flowing. Neck pain is often made worse when tight muscles don’t get any motion. Muscle guarding and tight muscles limit the blood flow and oxygen to muscles and tissues. Without oxygen and nutrients those muscles and tissues start to scream = pain.
Move your body as much as you can without aggravating your neck pain. Go for walks, allow your arms to swing. Do bodyweight squats and lunges with your lower body to get your blood flowing. Move your arms around as much as you can without aggravating your neck.
Chronic or prolonged use of NSAIDs (most over-the-counter pain medications) like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen are medications that come with side effects. Most of the time the side effects of these non-prescriptive medications are overlooked but are still negative for your body and healing. Some of the main side effects involve being very rough on your stomach and gut health. Chronic use can even cause stomach ulcers.
A less known side effect is how these medications make it harder for your body to actually heal and degrade the quality of your tissues. These medications interrupt the chemical equation of inflammation within your body. That is how they help reduce inflammation and pain. Unfortunately your body needs that chemical equation of inflammation to heal and create new collagen fibers for healing. By stopping that chemical equation the medications also stop your body’s ability to make new collagen, heal, and repair tissues. Along with that these medications actually degrade the quality of collagen tissue in your body. Finding ways to relieve your pain naturally will be a much better long term solution.
(for pain relief)
Lie on your back, knees bent up, feet flat. Place one hand on your belly to serve as feedback. Inhale through your nose making your belly and hand rise towards the sky. Exhale and let your belly and hand sink down towards your spine.
Keep your chest still and avoid allowing your chest to rise on the inhale, breath into your belly to fill your lungs with air. Using your diaphragm to breathe only your belly should rise, not your chest.
Breathe 5-10 times then relax, repeat as often as needed.
(to inhibit pain and calm your nervous system)
Lie on your back, knees bent up, feet flat. Gently rock your knees from side to side in a PAIN FREE range of motion. Do NOT push into pain. Allow your spine to rotate and pelvis move while keeping your shoulders flat.to inhibit pain and calm your nervous system
Move your eyes:
(for blood flow and posture))
You can do this sitting, standing, anytime. Simply squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you, then relax.
Repeat 25-30 reps work up to 2-3 sets
Dr. Steve Politis, PT, DPT, FAFS, FAAOMPT, CKTP, CSCS, MovNat L1 is owner and operator of Kineci Health & Movement Center a holistic movement center. Dr. Steve’s passion is helping people Feel Better and Function Better. He loves learning about and understanding the body so he can help people more effectively. His passion for lifelong learning has led him to achieve two post-graduate Fellowships. He is a Fellow of Applied Functional Science (FAFS) from the Gray Institute which is a deep study in understanding the biomechanics of the body, how it is an interconnected and integrated system with every person being a unique individual. He is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) which was a two year long study in differential diagnosis, manual therapy techniques, and tissue specific healing. He is one of only a handful of physical therapists in the world with this combination of education and training putting him in the top 1% of educated and skilled physical therapists in the country.
Kineci Health & Movement Center has been the culmination of Dr. Steve’s vision for creating a Center of Excellence for providing natural alternatives to the traditional ‘sick care’ model of our current broken health care system. At Kineci we believe Your Health is YOUR Choice and should not be dictated by others. We believe in YOU! We are here for YOU! Let Kineci help YOU Feel Better and Function Better.
Kineci = Movement Medicine (Kinesis = Movement + Medicine)
More than your typical Physical Therapy in Santa Barbara. Kineci offers specialized care to meet YOUR needs.
Hours by Appointment at:
22 West Mission Street, Ste B,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101