Activities To Avoid or Change:
Avoid sleeping or reading or watching TV, etc. with your head on the arm of the couch. Also, avoid sleeping with a draft on your neck or with an awkward twist. If you’re traveling, us a pillow like the one below.
For Temporary Relief:
Try using an Ice Pack. This problem often responds well to icing and stretching. Icing will quell the irritation and stretching will losen the fixated joints.
It’s simple and often works, especially when you have overstretched by tucking your chin to read. Place an ice pack at the base of your head so that it covers the area between your head and neck.
Click here for guidelines on using an ice pack safely and effectively.
Use a travel pillow, like this one, which is available on Amazon.
I’ve bought several of them for my wife at airports. We traveled once without it, and she was, well, a bit grouchy and complained about her neck. I now make sure that we have it or just cheerfully get another one before we board. It’s worth it. They’re cheaper on Amazon.
Here’s a quick and easy trick.
I keep these little patches around.
You can place this on the back of your neck so that the top of the patch is across the boney bump on the base of your head. Right along the midline of your neck, at the top.
After a few minutes, you will feel the cooling sensation. Gently stretch the top of your neck side to side, turning and tilting it forward. This usually releases gently over a few minutes with surprising ease.
By the way, these are also great for travel.
You can get these patches at almost any drug store or grocery store or on Amazon.
These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.
Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:
Tenderness at the top of the neck is caused by local joint problems. The trigger points referral generates the headache. These stretches will help with longer-lasting relief.
Is Your Neck Extra Stiff and Painful?
Sometimes, turning your head is strongly limited by pain. This indicates that more than one of the muscles that creates a “stiff neck” is involved. Check out these posts on a stiff neck.
In this case, if the problem does not resolve with home care, consider professional help from your bodyworker. They will offer quicker relief, have longer-lasting results, and keep you focused on effective self-care.
Consider the Supporting Muscles
This muscle contributes to Forward-Head posture. It becomes short and strong. Once the head has become imbalanced over the trunk, this muscle is supported to become shorter and stronger.
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If you’re a yoga practitioner, you should avoid headstands until you get these headaches under control. I’ve had several clients that have reactivated this headache with headstands.
Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…
Your neuromuscular therapist has better strategies to work in this area. It helps to balance the atlas and correct Forward Head posture. There are other things that your bodyworker will do to create better postural correction and longer-lasting relief.
This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.
Weekly Featured Post
This patient had recovered from a frozen shoulder but developed shoulder pain at the end of his golf swing. More traditional neuromuscular techniques weren’t working. Chiropractic wasn’t working. Integrative Craniosacral was the right solution for lasting relief.
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.