SINGLE POST

Chronic Neck Pain

February 26, 2017

Do you suffer with chronic neck pain? Chances are, you are also dealing with occipital neuralgia or migraines[1], insomnia, stiffness in your shoulders, pain when turning your neck and a host of other issues. If the cause of the pain is compressed spinal nerves or spinal stenosis, you might also have pain in the tricep, deltoid or bicep muscle of your arms. 

 

First, see your doctor. Get a complete check-up, including X-rays and an MRI[2] of your neck. Find out what the issue is and get a complete list of options to try to manage the pain. The doctor might recommend physiotherapy, but likely you will also need some medication such as a muscle relaxant or arthritic pharmaceuticals to manage the pain. This might be enough to allow you to get some sleep. 

 

If this still does not allow for a good night's sleep, check your pillow. It may be too hard, too soft, too high or too low. I went to a medical supply store and purchased a therapeutic cervical neck pillow. 

 

If you are a back sleeper, you lay your neck on the wedge and head in the crevice. This is also an excellent position for a lying down meditation. I tried this last night and was amazed at the level of support and comfort this provided. 

 

 

If you are a side sleeper, you sleep on the higher portion on either end of the pillow.

 

Again, excellent support and comfort. In order to get the proper alignment of the spine, you need to get the angle of your neck and shoulder measurement to see how much height you require. The people at the medical supply store can do that for you. Having the wrong height will only compound your problems, so do not try to figure this out on your own. These pillows use standard pillow cases so no need to purchase another one. 

 

Another option is yoga therapy, specific poses and alignments for your neck and shoulders. 

With neuralgia, pain management is crucial, but also is treatment. Occipital neuralgia causes tension in the obliquus capitis inferior muscles[3] of the neck, which then in turn, tightens the fascia surrounding the muscle compounding the pain in the neck, increasing the chance or migraines, nausea, blurred vision, and more.

 

 

 

That fascia needs to relax so that the muscle can relax. Pharmaceuticals will not fix this. Physiotherapy might, but a better option is physiotherapy, yoga therapy, and a dedicated home practise to release the fascia. Loosening the muscle is not enough because the fascia sits on top of the muscle and needs a much longer yoga hold to release. 

 

Work is required to get long term relief, but the practise and patience is worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/nervous_system_disorders/Occipital_Neuralgia_22,OccipitalNeuralgia/

 

[2] https://medlineplus.gov/mriscans.html

 

[3] http://www.physio-pedia.com/Obliquus_Capitis_Inferior

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