How to Survive Neck Stress, Tension And Pain (and Other Neck Relief Tips)
Your body believes every word you say! Have you ever caught yourself saying 'he/she is a pain in my neck?'. It's a common and easy statement to declare but the ramifications can be significant to your body!
What Would You Do If You Had Trillions of Employees?
Imagine that. You don't have to pay them. You just have to feed them and ensure they get some activity and rest, and in exchange they'll help you fulfill your life with health, happiness and vitality.
Your body is comprised of over 300-trillion cells (your 'employees'), of which they are constantly recycling and renewing. Essentially, every 7-10 years you have a brand new body. Of course, there is no golden secret to stopping the aging process. However, there is a golden secret of knowledge in that your future body's health is determined from what you do from this moment forward.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago. The second best time is now."
Jumping back to our analogy of the 300-trillion employees who work for you. Now imagine that every one of them has bought into the idea 'Life is so hard. I'm so tired. He/she is a pain in my neck.' How do you think you would start to feel with this volume of protesters rebelling against your idea of living a life of health, happiness and vitality? I'm thinking the feelings of overwhelm, fatigue and pain in your neck!
It would be a challenge for sure to overcome these 300-trillion opponents to health, but you are literally one thought away from transforming their attitude. The key is determining which thought is going to flick that switch AND more importantly are you able to convince yourself of this new line of thinking consistently, everyday.
Every time you declare a statement to your body such as today's example of 'he/she is a pain in my neck', you are affirming to yourself that you have a pain in your neck. This is where mystery pain or symptoms can arise. I've treated many patients who have had this scenario play out. There has been no trauma. No previous history. Just a sudden onset of pain that appears to have come from nowhere. I believe these mysterious pains are a manifestation of psycho-somatic influences - the root of which is our inner language that we use everyday. Only we can change this for our self.
Overcoming Unwanted Habits of Mind
Step 1 - Awareness
"When you are by yourself - watch your mind.
When you are around others - watch your speech."
Buddhist Master Shantideva
Your first goal in reframing your mindset is to simply become aware of your thoughts. You have over 35,000 different thoughts a day and at first this can seem like a mammoth of a job. Similar to clouds in the sky, thoughts arise and dissolve in your mind incessantly, often without any effort on your behalf. Most of the thoughts you are having are neutral, some are positive and some are negative. Just as you can accumulate postural debt with your physical posture, you can also accumulate mental debt that creates a burden to carry around. This translates into the physical experiences of stress, tension and pain.
My advice is for you take particular interest in the thoughts arising regularly and repeatedly. Determine if they are positively or negatively influencing your mind and body. How long would you hang out with someone who was nagging at you, complaining, criticizing, blaming and whining? These are the inner thoughts you should aim to reduce, control and transform.
Understand these negative thoughts do have a short-term purpose. They are part of an intelligent, universal feedback system to help you stay aligned with your true purpose in life. However, if you are not observant of your mind, they can spiral out of control and become your default setting.
Step 2 - Affirm
Once you have become aware of your daily thought patterns, your next step would be to begin affirming a new line of thinking and reasoning. An affirmation is simply a declaration that you are communicating with your 300-trillion cells in your body. The goal is to ensure you are affirming a positive message to support health, happiness and vitality, and therefore have your 'employees' on your side working loyally and efficiently toward this end goal. With your team of cells fully supporting you, when you get knocked down in life by an injury, illness or a major challenge, they'll be ready to mobilize and initiate a faster recovery toward optimum health.
It's a fair exchange - take care of your body and it will take care of you!
To help you reframe your mindset, get free access to my Attitudes of Health - Daily Affirmations. Instantly download to your device, and repeat all or some of these powerful affirmations each morning, lunch and evening. Place your hand on your heart, close your eyes and truly get yourself into a peak state of mind. Do this for at least 30-days and email me your results!
Step 3 - Assert
The last step in healing your mind is to be relentless in your pursuit of health, happiness and vitality. Never let a day go by without asserting and convincing yourself of your goals and your reasons for leading the life you wish to have. Conviction leads to mastery. It needs to be done as often as necessary until a change has become imprinted and your old habits are reducing and eventually transformed.
Meditation can certainly accelerate this process and help massage these favorable affirmations in your mind.
To further assist you in this step of unwavering conviction, I recommend reading and listening to those who inspire you and help you fulfill your dreams and aspirations. Consider hiring a life coach and, as Les Brown motivational speaker always advises, only surround yourself with O.Q.P. - Only Quality People. Stop reading the news and wasting your time on excessive social media, and fill your time with the outer messages that are going to positively influence your inner messages.
Anatomy of Neck Stiffness
Another cause of neck stress, tension and pain is to consider the effects of mechanics - namely posture and trauma. I covered neck posture in a previous blog post, please review here.
Trauma to the neck can be serious and if this applies to you, I always recommend to seek medical assistance and advice before proceeding with any therapy, exercise or returning to work.
The neck is referring to the cervical spine and related musculature. It must hold up the weight of your head and tolerate the forces of posture, and if you are participating in any contact related sports it must deal with even more significant forces. It becomes valuable to have a well-rounded program to increase neck flexibility, mobility, strength, endurance and stability.
The focus of today's article is to teach you the most simplest (yet equally the most effective) method to increase and maintain neck mobility.
Remember if you don't use it, you'll lose it.
The discs between each of your neck vertebrae are a fluid filled disc that is absolutely dependent upon:
1) hydration - make sure you achieve your daily water intake to help these discs maintain their spacing and maintain your height, and
2) movement - without sufficient movement in all directions, the joints and related musculature will stiffen and when the demand arises, an injury such as a neck strain or spasm, is more likely to arise because you've not used the neck to it's full capacity.
Enter one of my solutions. Check out the video below and unleash your neck potential!
Any questions, you can reach me at my clinic by phone: 403 589 4645 or email: email@example.com
Please help me on my mission to relieve stress, tension and pain. Share this anyone you know that would benefit from this blog article :)
Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT
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