Self Care – Stiffness up the side of the neck

Avoid the activities that perpetuate this problem. This usually involves tensing the shoulders while holding them unevenly.

  • Avoid unevenly leaning the handrails while using a treadmill.
  • Have your PT help you with changing how you use your cane.
  • Get reading glasses with the proper focal length.
  • Adjust your desk so that your shoulders are not hiked while you are working.
  • Don’t hold the phone with your shoulder.

Take a look at these posts to see if one of them more closely matches your pattern.

A stiff neck can be caused by a number of different muscles, most of which attach to the axis. 70% of the rotation of the head happens in the atlantoaxial joint between the first and second vertebra. When turning is very restricted, there is usually more than one of these muscles with active trigger points.

The Box is a reliable way to deal with this problem.

Make sure that you follow the instructions for the top of The Box and loosen the upper neck first. If you don’t release the restrictions in the upper neck, this stiffness will linger.

After doing the upper cervicals, do a complete round of the lower neck. You will find that stretches #2, #3 #9 and#10 are usually the stiffest.

Focus on the tight and restricted areas. Stretches along the muscle and stretches when turning may be stiff and tight but don’t overstretch the back of your neck. If you have Forward-Head Posture, you may find that stretching the base of your neck in the front to be very effective in offering relief. This brings the head back, taking tension off of levator scapula.

Focus on the tight and restricted areas. Stretches along the muscle and when turning may be stiff and tight but don’t overstretch the back of your neck. If you have Forward-Head Posture, you may find that stretching the base of your neck in the front to be very effective in offering relief. This brings the head back, taking tension off of levator scapula.

Be gentle and persistent in your stretching, Don’t do this forcefully or it may just be extra painful. The Box only takes about 6 minutes but you want to take longer to implement gentle repetitions to work this loose. Don’t hold the stretches longer, instead, do more gentle stretches.

The exercise in this post is really great for releasing tension in the head, neck and upper back. It is particularly good at strengthening the muscle that lower shoulders and releasing the muscles that keep them high and tight.

If this self-care doesn’t work, see your bodyworker who can address this with greater detail and effectiveness.

and some related posts…

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.

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