A few months ago I was practicing head stand when I lost my balance and somersaulted out of it. In the moment it actually felt pretty graceful and I was proud of myself for not getting hurt. The next day though I awoke to a terrible neck pain. Ever since then my neck has been achy. Some days I wake up and literally cannot turn from right to left. Monday morning was that kind of day- the worst yet! And I am still suffering! Constantly picking up an 18 month old who isn’t walking yet doesn’t help matters!
So, I figure if neck pain is something I suffer from it may be something YOU suffer from too. Hope not!
Yoga got me into this mess so yoga is going to get me out. Here is what I know about neck and upper back pain:
It can arise from a variety of circumstances, anything from sleeping wrong like yours truly to a car accident to poor posture do to sitting at a computer for too long. (Did you just adjust your posture? I did!)
According to medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of neck pain include: muscle strains, especially from overuse of the neck muscles; wear and tear resulting in osteoarthritis of the bones in the neck; nerve compression as a result of stiffened discs, herniated discs or bone spurs; injuries such as whiplash from car accidents; pain secondary from other illnesses or diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer.
Having this pain has actually made me very grateful for the range of motion I normally have. There is nothing like walking down the street and not being able to window shop easily to remind you of how good you have it. So, I’m practicing gratitude as well as yoga to relieve the pain. Oh, and lots of advil!
The neck is a pretty vulnerable spot. My Chiropractor says that my neck is out of alignment at C5. That’s the 5th vertebrae in the cervical spine (which spans from the top of the thoracic spine, where the ribs attach, up to the base of the skull.) It is much smaller and more delicate than the lower vertebrae which need to old up the entire upper body. But the head is heavy! 10-15 pounds. Also, there are lots of nerves and blood vessels in this part of the body that are affected when things get out of wack.
So, the yoga pose that I have been focusing on and has given me some relief (although I’d welcome more) is Tadasana or mountain pose.
Stand tall and imagine that someone is pulling a string out through the of the top of your head (up) and out through your tail bone (down.) See if you can actually feel the traction at the point where the pain is.
Hope this give some relief. Until next time, namaste peeps.