I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to kick start your Monday. I think you are going to get a lot out of today’s blog post, especially if you are suffering from neck / upper back pain on a regular basis like I was. I honestly get emotional about this topic because my pain was so intense and non-stop for a little over 6 years no matter what I did. I recently discovered why and it has been an incredible relief for me and so liberating to know that I know how make it better when if it comes back.
Read my story and solutions below:
Last weekend was weekend 2 of my brand new certification training from Z Health Performance Solutions. Their philosophy is that everyone is an athlete. Whether you are an office worker athlete, a parent athlete or professional athlete, we all need to get through our days pain free so we can function well, be happy, be active, and move freely! I chose to start training with this company because of my 6 year battle with chronic neck pain.
Very long story short, I had tried many things to get rid of this – 4 different chiropractors, 5 message therapists, acupuncture and ART. All of these things would help at the time of the appointment and relieve the pain somewhat but then it would just come back the next day and I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the piercing pain on my own.
I literally signed up for a basic certification after hearing the inventor of Z Health, Dr. Eric Cobb speak about his 25 year experience with pain at a fitness conference I attended 10 months back.
It took some trial and error but after one specific day of their Essentials of Elite performance training I was completely pain free! I was so floored by this that I signed up for Every Certification this company offered so that I could help others deal with their pain and get stronger. Now my mood is better, I am so much more happy, I can genuinely pay attention to everything going on around me and not think about how much my neck is hurting! You get the point.
So now, onto what really helped me… It was something I had Never thought of before…
It turned out I had a problem with my vision which created a sensory mismatch for me. It is a vestibulo-ocular reflex sensory mismatch.
Because all of these concepts are pretty new to me, I went searching online to help me explain this to you and found a brilliant Facebook post on the topic by Schmoe Chiropractic Clinic LLC .
Here is what he says:
“Occulospinal reflexes are reflexes that use information from the eyes to setup spinal postures to aid movement in the environment. If there is a mismatch or weakness of the eyes it is possible to get injuries, poor posture and increased problems including but not limited to motion sickness but also what Chiropractors call subluxations of the spine.
The vestibular system located in your inner ear. The vestibular system is our major determinant for balance providing information on horizontal, and how we are accelerating in relation to the horizontal.
The vestibular (inner ear) system integrates with information from the eyes (visual information) and body (proprioceptive information) to determine postures, reflex actions and control movements. It does this by having vestibulo-ocular and vestibulo-spinal reflexes. These are reflexive pathways, for example turn your head to the R and your eyes will shift to the left. Tilt your head back and you eyes go down. These reflexes need to be working properly and if they are not they can lead to things like chronic neck pain and stiffness and endless trips to Chiropractors/PTs/massage therapists etc….” READ Entire Post Here.
I had a private lesson with Dr. Eric Cobb himself and here are the exercises I do now to keep myself out of pain! You can litterally do these 5 exercises at your desk in about 3 – 4 min max.
3 for the Eyes:
- Eye Push Ups - This helps with convergence of the eyes, makes you a better reader and better at focusing. Sit down with straight posture and feet flat on the ground. Hold a Pen vertically in front of your face with the tip aligned at your nose – Pull towards your face slowly until you see 2 pens instead of 1. Once this happens pull the pen back away from your face and repeat. On the third eye push up, try to hold the point just before where your vision doubles for 20 seconds. Goal – To hold the pen at your nose without turning double for 20-30 seconds!
- Eye No’s – Help with vestibular/ ocular reflex connections. Sit down with straight posture and feet flat on the ground. Hold Pen vertically in front of your face and focus on the tip. Relax and slowly move your head from side to side about 2 inches max in each direction keeping your focus on the tip. Goal is to do this keeping your head perfectly straight, breath steady and constant, and vary the speeds (from slow to fast) for about 15 seconds.
- Eye Yes’ – Help with vestibular/ ocular reflex connections. Sit down with straight posture and feet flat on the ground. Hold pen in front of your face horizontal. Focus on the tip of the pen and nod your head 2 inches up and down keeping your focus on the pen. Goal is to o this keeping your head perfectly straight, breath steady and constant, and vary the speeds (from slow to fast) for about 15 seconds.
2 For posture/ upper back and neck alignment:
- Thorasic Anterior / Posterior glides- Sit down with straight posture and feet flat on the ground. Put your hands around your knees and keep your lower back steady. Try not to move your lower back or curve in your shoulders during this movement. Cave in your chest Push your upper back towards the chair, then straight again. (Pretend like you are spreading your upper spine apart and then bringing it back together). Goal is to do 5 reps only moving the upper back.
- Neck Anterior / Posterior Glides – Sit or stand with straight posture and feet flat on the ground. Push your neck forward like a chicken (you may feel like one doing this but just go with it!) and then bring it back straight.
For even more, check out this youtube video I did a week back. The hip circles, hour glasses and lumbar circles also make me feel much better!
So try all of these on your own. If you need further explanation, leave a comment or if you try them and they work for you, leave a comment! Thanks everyone and have a great week!