Neck kinks - Mobility tune-up tip

Have you ever had a kink in the neck that makes even the simplest task become an ‘’pain in the neck’’?

Here are 2 of my favorite 1st aid things that you can do to shake that annoying pain. Of course you are going to be wise about applying these tips right? If you think you may have a severe problem other than you just slept wrong or that you over-did something, please consult your qualified health practitioner. Make sure that you rule out any of the serious issues like a cervical subluxation, fracture or cancer etc.

1. The Genie

I dream of Genie.jpg

Can you remember the awesome TV show ‘’I dream of Genie’’ where Barbara Eden placed her arms in front of her body, stacked one on top of the other? (by the way I totally had a huge crush on the major!! Don’t judge …I am sure that some of you adored Genie)

Go ahead and place your arms just like she did. At shoulder height, one on top of the other. Now, keep your body/legs/hips still while you start to swing your arms side to side. Start slowly to explore the sensations. As you feel that there is space available without effort or pain, allow your arms to swing further to each side. Repeat this this a few to 10ish times then change the stacking of the arms so that the other arm is on top. Go ahead and repeat the progressive swinging. The movement remains fairly restricted to thoracic motion. Once you have rotated holding your pelvis in place you can add in a bit of pelvic rotation aka rotation at the waist. Just don’t exaggerate that. By the way, you also don’t need to nod your head like Genie did, just keep your head looking forward.

Has the pain dissolved a bit? Sometimes this one works like magic.

2. The SCM release

scm skeleton.jpg

Often, not always, when your neck hurts it can be the muscle at the side of our neck called the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. Our tendency would be to lean our head away from the side that is tight/restricted in hopes that stretching it will release the not so pleasant sensations. If you have taken ANY fitness or yoga class in the last few decades you have most likely done that stretch many times. I am now going to suggest that you try something a bit different and see if it gives you a more effective relief.  What you are going to try will feel like you are doing the opposite of what you have done before. Go ahead and try this:

Lean your ear to whatever side the not so pleasant sensations are on. If the left side hurts, lean the left ear towards the shoulder. Then lift your shoulder up as if you want to touch your ear with it. Then, slightly lift your chin tilting is a bit towards your midline (in towards the body rather than away) What you should feel is a total relief of tightness in that painful area. Remain there for a few moments to enjoy the peaceful sensations, then return your head to its neutral alignment. You may be tempted to lean the head away to go back to a habitual stretch. How about you see what it’s like to not do that and just stick to getting your head and shoulder into the proposed position; one that actually brings peace to that tired, beat up muscle.

Let me know how these work out for you.

Jackie Leduc